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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Are You An Addict?

May 31, 2015 09:02PM
by Babette Lamarre

According to a 2013 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating foods high in sugar causes a surge in the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in a part of our brain called the nucleus accumbens, often referred to as our pleasure center.

When we consume a meal high in sugar, we experience temporary feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. However, as we consume more and more sugary foods, we see a down regulation of the receptors sensitive to dopamine. This means that over time, we need more sugar to get the same effect, thus we eat more of it.

These are the same effects seen in users of highly addictive drugs such as dopamine and methamphetamine. In fact, a study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2013 revealed that “sugar and sweet reward cannot only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine, but can even be more rewarding and attractive.” According to Dr. Mark Harmon, here are five clues that you may be addicted to sugar:

  • You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry.
  • You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  • You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
  • You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do.
  • You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.
The best way to control your addiction is to abstain. Modify your diet to be as low as possible in added sugars.

Babette Lamarre is a nutritional therapy practitioner at Neck, Back and Beyond in Fairfax. For more information or help with overcoming sugar addictions and other conditions, contact her at or703-865-5690.



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