Is Food Addictive


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  • Is Food Addictive? A Scientific Analysis Of YOUR Diet Casey Thaler B.A., NASM-CPT, FNS Molecular Structure Of Caffeine (1,3,7 Trimethylxanthine) > *
  • I’ll Save You Some Time… Yes, food is addictive. “Junk food is food of little or no nutritional value that is high in fat, sugar, and calories. In addition, consumption of junk food has the ability to alter brain activity in a manner similar to illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin, meaning it can be just as addictive. Junk food does not contain nutrients that are beneficial to the human body. In most cases, these foods are filled with harmful carbohydrates, fats and cholesterol that do not provide any useful energy. As a result, somebody consuming junk food has reduced levels of essential nutrients thereby causing weakness in the body. This is why the addictive nature of these foods is even more problematic. Junk foods have been identified as a major cause of heart diseases including myocardial infraction, cardiac arrest and atherosclerosis. This is due to the fact that junk food contains excessive amounts of low-density lipoproteins and cholesterol that get deposited on the inner linings of blood vessels. Overall, junk food is very bad for your body and should not be eaten frequently.” Youth, Puffa. "P.U.F.F.A Youth." P.U.F.F.A Youth: The Scary Story of Junk Food. N.p., 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. . “Rats given extended access to high-fat high-sugar food show behavioral and physiological changes that are similar to those caused by drugs of abuse. Johnson and Kenny examined rats using behavioral models borrowed from drug-addiction research, but, instead of being given access to cocaine or heroin, the rats were given access to a cafeteria-style diet of energy-dense (high fat and/or high carbohydrate) food, including bacon, sausage, cheesecake, pound cake, frosting and chocolate. The diet had two behavioral effects that were similar to those of exposure to addictive drugs.” Epstein DH, Shaham Y. Cheesecake-eating rats and the question of food addiction. Nat Neurosci. 2010;13(5):529-31. *
  • The Longer Version… Certain compounds in food are chemically rewarding. Drug addicts are addicted to drugs. Obese people are addicted to food. The advent of agriculture, which caused the creation of our Neolithic foods, could possibly be explained due to the rewards found in these then-novel food sources. Rada P, Avena NM, Hoebel BG. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell. Neuroscience. 2005;134(3):737-44. Avena NM, Bocarsly ME, Hoebel BG, Gold MS. Overlaps in the nosology of substance abuse and overeating: the translational implications of "food addiction". Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2011;4(3):133-9. “These unsolved and until-now unrelated problems may in fact solve each other. The answer, we suggest, is this: cereals and dairy foods are not natural human foods, but rather are preferred because they contain exorphins. This chemical reward was the incentive for the adoption of cereal agriculture in the Neolithic. Regular self-administration of these substances facilitated the behavioural changes that led to the subsequent appearance of civilisation.” Wadley G, Martin A. The origins of agriculture: a biological perspective and a new hypothesis. Australian Biologist 6: 96-105, June 1993. *
  • Not JUST The Foods You Think… Molecular Structure Of Gliadorphin (Opioid Peptide Found In Wheat) Molecular Structure Of Casomorphin (Opioid Peptide Found In Dairy) *
  • Your Brain And Reward Lawrence NS, Hinton EC, Parkinson JA, Lawrence AD. Nucleus accumbens response to food cues predicts subsequent snack consumption in women and increased body mass index in those with reduced self-control. Neuroimage. 2012;63(1):415-22. Nucleus Accumbens “The brain regions involved in the sensation of pleasure and reward are among those most affected by drugs. The nucleus accumbens, together with the ventral tegmental area, constitutes the central link in the reward circuit. The nucleus accumbens is also one of the brain structures that is most closely involved in drug dependency. The nucleus accumbens appears to be involved in controlling our motivations. Also, the frequent consumption of a drug is known to tremendously increase the amount of the main neurotransmitter in this part of the brain, dopamine. We can therefore better understand the drug addict’s obsessive drive to keep seeking more of the drug.” Available at: Accessed April 11, 2014. *
  • Nucleus Accumbens And Food “Hedonic over-consumption contributing to obesity involves altered activation within the mesolimbic dopamine system. Dysregulation of dopamine signaling in the nucleus accumbens shell (NAS) has been implicated in reward-seeking behaviors, such as binge eating.” Halpern CH, Tekriwal A, Santollo J, et al. Amelioration of binge eating by nucleus accumbens shell deep brain stimulation in mice involves D2 receptor modulation. J Neurosci. 2013;33(17):7122-9. *
  • Sugar: The Addictive Model *
  • Types Of Sugar Glucose Found in plants, also known as dextrose. Every cell in the body can use it. Sucrose (Glucose + Fructose) AKA table sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, usually just sugar. Fructose All forms, including fruits and juices, are commonly added to foods and drinks for palatability and taste enhancement, and for browning of some foods, such as baked goods. High Fructose Corn Syrup (42% Glucose + 55% Fructose) Mostly used in soft drinks, processed foods, cereals, and baked goods. *
  • Sugar Is Sugar Is Sugar. Available at: Infographics/bloodstream.png?width=886&height=1081&ext=.png. Accessed April 12, 2014. 1. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sucrose (table sugar) are both processed IDENTICALLY by the body. 2. HFCS is NOT worse than table sugar. 3. HFCS and table sugar are BOTH equally bad. *
  • Fructose = Problematic Fructose is mostly processed by the GLUT5 receptor in the liver. It does not raise insulin levels, reduces leptin, and increases trigylcerides. Your body has no use for it. It leads to overeating, due to lack of satiety signal to hypothalamus. Page KA, Chan O, Arora J, et al. Effects of fructose vs glucose on regional cerebral blood flow in brain regions involved with appetite and reward pathways. JAMA. 2013;309(1):63-70. Lustig RH. Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110(9):1307-21. Teff KL, Elliott SS, Tschöp M, et al. Dietary fructose reduces circulating insulin and leptin, attenuates postprandial suppression of ghrelin, and increases triglycerides in women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004;89(6):2963-72. *
  • High Fructose Foods Available at: Accessed April 12, 2014. *
  • High Fructose Foods - Cont’d Available at: Accessed April 12, 2014. *
  • Fructose - Found In Fruit Available at: Chart (fruit sugars).tiff. Accessed April 12, 2014. *
  • How Sweet It Is… Pure fructose (such as the kind found in fruit) is 40% SWEETER than table sugar, which is already 50% fructose. HFCS is 20%-60% SWEETER than table sugar, which is again, already 50% fructose. Glucose, which is found in plants and partially in some fruits, is NOT the baseline measurement used. It is actually 20-30% LESS SWEET than the baseline measurement, sucrose. Available at: Accessed April 12, 2014. *
  • Artificially Sweet Artificial sweeteners are WORSE than table sugar (remember - that is 1/2 glucose and 1/2 fructose) in regards to how hyper-palatable they are. Neotame is actually 13,000x sweeter (!) than table sugar. Available at: Accessed April 12, 2014. Available at: Accessed April 12, 2014. *
  • No, Stevia Is Not Better Available at: Accessed April 12, 2014. Yang Q. Gain weight by "going diet?" Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010;83(2):101-8. *
  • “Diet” Sweeteners Actually Make You Fatter Yang Q. Gain weight by "going diet?" Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010;83(2):101-8. *
  • How Does Food Addiction Work? Yang Q. Gain weight by "going diet?" Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010;83(2):101-8. “Food reward consists of two branches: sensory and postingestive. In humans, gustatory information perceived by taste receptors on the tongue ascends through the thalamus and eventually terminates in the anterior insula/frontal operculum and the orbitofrontal cortex. Amygdala makes reciprocal connections along all levels of the gustatory pathway. Mesolimbic dopamine system is also crucial for the hedonic recognition of the stimulus and feeling of satisfaction following ingesting food with pleasant tastes.” *
  • “Bet You Can’t Eat JUST One!” “We live in a world where food chemists make foods ADDICTIVE for more consumption.” -Dr. Mathieu Lalonde, Ph.D, Organic Chemistry, Harvard University Food chemists utilize a technique called achieving the “bliss point”. This technique involves combining fat, sugar and salt in just the right ratios, so the food literally becomes nearly IMPOSSIBLE to stop consuming. Foods like this, it should be noted, are only made in labs, and not found in nature. What do food chemists use? 1. Sugar 2. Salt 3. Fat Food manufacturers nearly ALWAYS make sure 2 of these 3 are in their foods. DONUT Sugar + Fat CHIP Salt + Fat CANDY BAR Sugar + Fat *
  • Available at: Accessed April 13, 2014. The Bliss Point For nutrients that we like and therefore seek out, there is a particular concentration that makes food most palatable. 1. FAT 2. SUGAR 3. SALT These are nutrients that have been so important to us in our evolutionary history that natural selection favored genetic variations that: 1. Enable us to taste these nutrients. 2. Make our brains respond with a "reward" [we like it, it tastes good]. The reward center of the brain gives us a little jolt of endorphins for our reward. Endorphins are the endogenous morphine-like chemicals that work on the same neuronal receptors as opiate drugs. 3. Make our brains remember what we did to get that reward, and make us want to do it again. This is run by the neruotransmitter, dopamine. Reward-seeking actions can become unbelievably powerful, which is what addiction is. In combination, sugar, fat, and salt act synergistically: combinations are far more addictive than any single one alone. Mice, for instance, will work as hard to get a mixture of corn oil and sugar as they will to get cocaine. The food industry tries very hard to make each food contain combinations of 2 or 3 of these nutrients at their Bliss Points. It's done to encourage us to buy the food again, because we really like it. That's why it's so hard to stay away from some of these foods. For those of us who are sensitive to the power of endorphins and dopamine, it becomes virtually impossible not to over-eat. *
  • Not Just Fast Food And Junk Food Fukudome S, Yoshikawa M. Opioid peptides derived from wheat gluten: their isolation and characterization. FEBS Lett. 1992;296(1):107-11. Henschen A, Lottspeich F, Brantl V, Teschemacher H. Novel opioid peptides derived from casein (beta-casomorphins). II. Structure of active components from bovine casein peptone. Hoppe-Seyler's Z Physiol Chem. 1979;360(9):1217-24. Huebner FR, Lieberman KW, Rubino RP, Wall JS. Demonstration of high opioid-like activity in isolated peptides from wheat gluten hydrolysates. Peptides. 1984;5(6):1139-47. *
  • Grains While grains are universally recommended as healthy, they in fact contain a variety of problematic compounds. Refined grains remove fiber, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains pale in comparison to vegetables and fruit, in terms of nutrient density. Both refined and whole grains contain anti-nutrients called phytates that block minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc from being absorbed. Grains then have sugar added to them (to increase palatability) and are made into junk food. Yes, this includes “healthy foods” like granola bars. These foods are easy to overconsume, promote blood sugar dysregulation, cravings and contain very few bioavailable nutrients. Gliadorphin is the opioid peptide found in wheat, derived from gliadin. You likely know this compound from its inclusion in the protein composite gluten. Gliadin also causes a leaking of the gut, and zonulin release, by binding to the CXCR3 receptor. Zonulin is a protein that modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract. Molecular Structure Of Gliadorphin (Opioid Peptide Found In Wheat) Lammers KM, Lu R, Brownley J, et al. Gliadin induces an increase in intestinal permeability and zonulin release by binding to the chemokine receptor CXCR3. Gastroenterology. 2008;135(1):194-204.e3. *
  • Dairy Dairy is generally recommended as healthy, but has many downsides as well. These include the protein casein, the protein whey, lactose, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) and other issues. Dairy also has the ability to provoke a histamine response. This response can cause headaches, GI upset, exacerbations of asthma and seasonal allergies. Casein and whey contain immunoglobulins, insulin, estrogens, and other growth factors. They can provoke an unhealthy hormonal response. As a result of these ingredients, dairy is also a hyper-insulinogenic food, meaning it causes a large spike in insulin. The opioid peptides found in dairy are called casomorphins. These have been studied for involvement in a variety of mental diseases and disorders. For example, Dr. Robert Cade has identified casomorphin as a probable cause of attention deficit disorder. He also found beta-casomorphin-7 in high concentrations in the blood and urine of patients with either schizophrenia or autism. Hans Meisel and R. J. FitzGerald (2000). Opioid peptides encrypted in intact milk protein sequences. British Journal of Nutrition, 84, pp 27-31. doi:10.1017/S000711450000221X. Molecular Structure Of Casomorphin (Opioid Peptide Found In Dairy) *
  • Added Sugar Has the equivalent of more than two teaspoons of sugar, as much as two-plus Oreo cookies. It also delivers one-third of the sodium recommended for a majority of American adults for an entire day. 32 out of 33 breads on the shelf contain added sugar. Coleslaw has 3.5 teaspoons (14 grams) of added sugar in 1 cup. The American Heart Association recommends men limit added sugar to 36 grams, or 9 teaspoons, per day. Women should limit added sugar to 24 grams, or 6 teaspoons, each day. *
  • Caffeine 1, 3, 7 Trimethylxanthine Member of the alkaloid family Alkaloids are typically toxic to other organisms Caffeine, as an alkaloid, is a pesticide found in plants Other alkaloids include: morphine, cocaine, nicotine, etc. Highly addictive (over 90% of humans consume) Model drug of dependence (tolerance, withdrawal) Vasoconstrictor (reduces CBF by 27% on average) Neurostimulant (binds to adenosine receptors) Half life of 3 hours Women metabolize differently than men “If introduced today, it would NOT be allowed.” -Dr. William Dement, Stanford University Addicott MA, Yang LL, Peiffer AM, et al. The effect of daily caffeine use on cerebral blood flow: How much caffeine can we tolerate?. Hum Brain Mapp. 2009;30(10):3102-14. *
  • Diets That Work Mediterranean Diet Emphasizing fruits and vegetables, olive oil and fish. Japanese Diet Three servings of fish a week, on average, plenty of whole grains, vegetables and soy products. Kitavan Diet Their dietary staples are tubers (yam, sweet potato and taro), fruit, fish, and coconut. They don’t use dairy products, alcohol, coffee, or tea. Their intake of oils, margarine, cereals, and sugar is negligible. Inuit Diet Primarily only meat and fat, very little fruits and vegetables. *
  • What Can You Do? All successful diets contain REAL food. Avoid liquid calories… they are low in nutrients, high in sugar/artificial sweeteners and are easy to over-consume. Eat protein… it will keep you satiated and provides essential amino acids. Eat vegetables… ad libitum, for their antioxidant content. Eat healthy fats… for their satiety and heart healthy benefits. Eat small to moderate amounts of fruit and starchy tubers… for energy, while limiting fructose. *
  • Contact Me CASEY THALER B.A., NASM-CPT, FNS Eat Clean, Train Clean®: Eat Real Food, Change Your Life™ [email protected] Publications I Write For: Paleo Magazine® Available At: Whole Foods, Barnes And Noble PaleoHacks® Whole9® *
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