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Foods With High Glycemic Index Can be Addictive

For most people, hunger is not the primary factor of influence regarding their nutrition, and for some people, it is tough to control how much they eat.

foods with high glycemic index
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Scientists believe that overly sweet, salty and fat foods (foods that are stimulating the taste buds), usually consumed in a typical Western diet can create dependencies in the human brain, resulting in losing your self-control, excessive food consumption and, of course, gaining weight.

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In fact, behavior and neurochemical traits manifested in substance abuse are the same as those in the case of abusive food consumption, and researchers increasingly accept the idea of food addiction.

Dopamine is a chemical substance in the brain involved in motivation, pleasure, and reward.

The reward system by the release of dopamine has been shown to be involved in excessive eating among animals, and the effects are similar to those of drug addiction.

Studies on human brain activity give evidence to support the idea that overeating can change the reward system by releasing more dopamine, and this is a consequence of uncontrolled food consumption.

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Substance abuse reduces the number of dopamine receptors in the brain, and it is believed to be the principal reason for the existence of tolerance associated with addiction-in time, increasing amounts of the same substance is needed to achieve the same level of reward because your reaction to that reward it’s being reduced.

Similarly, in the context of food addiction, in obese people were reported small numbers of dopamine D2 receptors compared with subjects with a healthy weight, and the reaction to dopamine drops after a period of weight gain.

The reward response by releasing dopamine in women who have bulimia is reduced as well, compared to healthy women. It has been proved that frequent ice cream consumption minimizes the reward response among teenagers.

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Both studies together imply that excessive consumption of food leads to reduced reward response, fuelling further the cycle of overeating and worsening the addiction to foods with poor nutrient content, but with good taste.

A recent study has analyzed the relationship between blood glucose intensity reaction to a particular food and the degree of activity in the reward area of the brain.

Overweight and obese men were given a shake composed by foods with high glycemic index (GI) or a shake with a low GI (but with the same number of calories and the equal macronutrient distribution) and the cerebral blood flow was tested 4 hours after consumption.

The result:
The group that consumed high GI products produced greater hunger and more activity in the brain area associated with pleasure, dopamine release as a reward and addiction.

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The study demonstrates that an increase in blood glucose produced by food addiction is proportional to the level of dependence produced in the brain.

The study confirms how important is to avoid refined foods and a combination of foods with high glycemic index, such as sugar, bakery products from flour, because these high GI foods encourages food cravings, mostly due to the dopamine reward system, especially in people already suffering from food addiction and are struggling or failing to lose weight.

At the same time, the glycemic contribution of vegetables, beans, for example, creates a faster sensation of satiety and, according to this study, could reduce the potential for activation of reward centers and the development of addiction, is an ideal carbohydrates source as a healthy alternative.

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