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Sweet preference, sugar addiction and the familial history of alcohol dependence: shared neural pathways and genes.

Fortuna JL. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2010 Jun;42(2):147-51.

Key Finding: “Contemporary research has shown that a high number of alcohol-dependent and other drug-dependent individuals have a sweet preference, specifically for foods with a high sucrose concentration. Both human and animal studies have demonstrated that in some brains the consumption of sugar-rich foods or drinks primes the release of euphoric endorphins and dopamine in a manner similar to some drugs of abuse. The neurobiological pathways of drug and sugar addiction involve similar neural receptors, neurotransmitters and hedonic regions in the brain. Craving, tolerance, withdrawal and sensitization have been documented in both human and animal studies. In addition, there appears to be cross sensitization between sugar addiction and narcotic dependence in some individuals. It has also been observed that the biological children of alcoholic parents, particularly alcoholic fathers, are at greater risk to have a strong sweet preference and may manifest in some with an eating disorder.”

After daily bingeing on a sucrose solution, food deprivation induces anxiety and accumbens dopamine/acetylcholine imbalance.

Avena NM, et al. Physiol Behav. 2008 Jun 9;94(3):309-15.

Key Finding: “Bingeing on sugar may activate neural pathways in a manner similar to taking drugs of abuse, resulting in related signs of dependence. The present experiments test whether rats that have been bingeing on sucrose and then fasted demonstrate signs of opitate-like withdrawal. The findings suggest that a diet of bingeing on sucrose followed by fasting creases a state that involves anxiety and altered accumbens dopamine and acetylcholnebalance. This is similar to the effects of naloxone, suggesting opiate-like withdrawal. This may be a factor in some eating disorders.”

Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake.

Avena NM, etal. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(1):20-39.

Key Finding: “Food addiction seems plausible because brain pathways that evolved to respond to natural rewards are also activated by addictive drugs. Sugar is noteworthy as a substance that releases opioids and dopamine and thus might be expected to have addictive potential. This review summarizes evidence of sugar dependence in an animal model. The evidence supports the hypothesis that rats can become sugar dependent. This may translate in some human conditions as suggested by the literature on eating disorders and obesity.”

Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence.

Colantuoni C, et al. Obes Res. 2002 Jun;10(6):478-88.

Key Finding: “Repeated, excessive intake of sugar created a state in which an opioid antagonist caused behavioral and neurochemical signs of opioid withdrawal. The indices of anxiety and DA/ACh imbalance were qualitatively similar to withdrawal from morphine or nicotine, suggesting that the rats had become sugar-dependent.”


*Please note Hippocrates Health Institute in no way supports animal testing. In our 60 years at the Institute we have seen first hand the transformational power of living foods through thousands of individuals. Unfortunately this evidence is not recognized by the scientific community and thus to cite our claims we reference the studies available. We hope in the future the scientific community utilizes institutes like Hippocrates to show the actual results of not only wheatgrass, but of a holistic lifestyle.

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