Neural systems that evolved to motivate and reinforce foraging and food intake also underlie drug-seeking and self-administration. The fact that some of these drugs can cause addiction raises the logical possibility that some foods might also cause addcition. Many people claim that they feel compelled to eat sweet foods, similar in some ways to how an alcoholic might feel compelled to drink.
The first, bingeing, is defined as the escalation of intake with a high proportion of intake at one time, usually after a period of voluntary abstinence or forced deprivation. Enhanced intake in the form of binges may result from both sensitization and tolerance to the sensory properties of a substance of abuse that occurs with its repeated delivery. Sensitization, which is described in greater detail below, is an increase in responsiveness to a repeatedly presented stimulus. Tolerance is a gradual decrease in responsiveness, such that more of the substance is needed to produce the same effect (McSweeney et al., 2005). Both are thought to influence the powerful, acute reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse and are important at the beginning of the addiction cycle since both can increase responding and intake (Koob and Le Moal, 2005). While ecological approaches targeting global nutrition policy appear promising, agricultural systems remain directed by multibillion-dollar multinational food corporations rather than by governments.
Receiving Therapy That Can Help Alleviate Sugar Cravings
Conversely, rats fed Daily Intermittent Sugar and Chow show locomotor cross-sensitization to amphetamine. Specifically, such animals are hyperactive in response to a low, challenge dose of amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.) that has no effect on naïve animals, even after 8 days of abstinence from sugar (Fig. 5; Avena and Hoebel, 2003b). Rats maintained on this feeding schedule but administered saline were not hyperactive, nor were rats in control groups (Daily Intermittent Chow, Ad libitum Sugar and Chow, Ad libitum Chow) given the challenge dose of amphetamine. Intermittent sucrose access also cross-sensitizes https://ecosoberhouse.com/ with cocaine (Gosnell, 2005) and facilitates the development of sensitization to the DA agonist quinpirole (Foley et al., 2006). Thus, results with three different DA agonists from three different laboratories support the theory that the DA system is sensitized by intermittent sugar access, as evidenced by cross-sensitization. This is important since enhanced mesolimbic dopaminergic neurotransmission plays a major role in the behavioral effects of sensitization as well as cross-sensitization (Robinson and Berridge, 1993), and may contribute to addiction and comorbidity with poly-substance abuse.
Throughout this review we use several terms with definitions for which there is not universal agreement. Addiction research traditionally focuses on drugs of abuse, such as morphine, cocaine, nicotine and alcohol. However, recently a variety of “addictions” to non-drug entities, including gambling, sex, and in this review, food, have been investigated (Bancroft and Vukadinovic, 2004, Comings et al., 2001, Petry, 2006). The term “addiction” implies psychological dependence and thus is a mental or cognitive problem, not just a physical ailment. “Addiction” is often used synonymously with the term “dependence” (Nelson et al., 1982) as defined by DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). We will use the term dependence in its all-encompassing meaning to describe the results of a battery of animal studies that model human drug addiction in each of its major phases (Koob and Le Moal, 2005).
E. “Gateway effect”: Increased alcohol intake during sugar abstinence
As outlined in the overview in Section 1, we use a feeding schedule that induces rats to binge on a sugar solution, then apply the criteria for drug dependence that are presented in Section 2 and test for the behavioral and neurochemical commonalties given in Section 3. Rats are given 12-h daily access to an aqueous 10% sucrose solution https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/why-do-alcoholics-crave-sugar-in-recovery/ (25% glucose in some experiments) and lab chow, followed by 12 h of deprivation for three or more weeks (i.e., Daily Intermittent Sugar and Chow). These rats are compared with control groups such as Ad libitum Sugar and Chow, Ad libitum Chow, or Daily Intermittent Chow (12-h deprivation followed by 12-h access to lab chow).
- Participants who initiated abstinence during treatment experienced the largest reductions in standardized measures of craving and depression from baseline to post-treatment.
- But self-reflection and an honest conversation with a healthcare provider is the best way to start to get a handle on the issue.
- Future research should control for restrained eating, which has not been adequately done.
- There are plenty of ways to calm your cravings while avoiding the negatives of sugar.
- This is exactly why Alcoholics Anonymous actually suggested consuming sweets to help manage alcohol cravings; it’s an effective substitute.
Alcohol tends to have the same effect, making our brains release dopamine in the short term. But alcohol is also a depressant, and this happy feeling only lasts for so long. For regular drinkers, it can take more and more alcohol over time to reach the stage of the dopamine release, which is one explanation for why people continue to drink too much. It is important to note that sugar and alcohol have similar effects in terms of how they are metabolized.