Overcoming alcohol addiction requires strength, determination, and commitment.
It is no easy feat. Once you give up drinking, do you notice that you
are more drawn to sugar? Instead of a beer, do you fantasize about a freshly
baked pie or warm brownie? While it is natural for many of us to crave
sweets, the treats communicate to the same part of our brains that alcohol
and drugs do, thus prompting addictive behavior.
Dr. Nichole Avena’s recent
study illustrates the affect sugar has on the brain. Sugars come in many forms.
A few examples include glucose, maltose, sucrose, lactose, dextrose, and
high fructose corn syrup. The varies forms of sugar is not limited to
sweet treats. Ketchup, yogurts, flavored waters, and granola bars all
have it. So, how does it affect your brain?
When you bite into something sweet, the taste receptors send a message
to the cerebral cortex, an area of the brain that deciphers tastes. The
cerebral cortex also alerts the
reward system in the brain, associating the food with the positive. The sugar fires
up the dopamine receptors, releasing the pleasure inducing neurotransmitters.
Drugs, socializing, and sexual activity also release dopamine into the
system. Because sugar is so prevalent in American diets, our dopamine
receptors are overstimulated, causing individuals to go to greater extent
to seek that sugar high. Alcohol functions in a similar vein. Using a
functional MRI scanner, researchers found that the same part of the brain
lights up every time an individual drinks alcohol or eats sugar. Moderation
or abstinence is key.
While eating a cupcake now and then is not harmful, it is important to
approach sweets with caution. Someone recovering from alcoholism may use
sugar as a coping mechanism. But too much sugar may lead to more damage.
If you or a loved one suffers from alcohol addiction, allow our detox
team at Turning Point to help. We will find healthy solutions and teach
you how to enjoy a fulfilling life of sobriety.
Contact our New Jersey alcohol rehab center today for more information!