Sugar and opiates more similar than you might think!
> 1/20/2006 10:50:47 AM

by William E. Hapworth M.D.

Studies like the Colatouni research , although preliminary, reveal what we all know at some level, that refined sugar is addictive and makes you high when consumed in quantity. These findings make the government's probes on junk food advertizing even more important as it raises the level of consumer and parental awareness to the public health menace sited in the previous post.

Below is a schematic that highlights the opiod receptors and illustrates how sugar may interface in this all important brain synaptic mechanism.



Research indicates that compounds that block opioid receptors, specific nerve cell areas where the opioid chemicals carry out their actions in the brain, can reduce the intake of sweet foods. Although direct proof is still lacking, some scientists believe that this finding indicates that sweets create a release of opioids that activate the receptors and create a pleasurable response. When the reaction is blocked, so is the urge to consume sweets. In addition, it's known that some addictive drugs, like morphine, directly target the opioid receptors and create an intense response. This suggests that there are parallels between drugs and sweets. Drugs, however, likely cause much more powerful actions in the brain.

Illustration by Lydia Kibiuk, copyright 2003 Lydia Kibiuk.

 


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