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Food Addiction's Relationship to High-Glycemic Food

Marilyn D'Andrea
Have you ever thought about kinds of food you crave? Some of our most favorite foods are high-glycemic index carbohydrates containing, such as ice cream and french fries. A new study on Food Addiction's Relationship to High-Glycemic Food has found that eating highly processed carbohydrates can cause excess hunger, as well as stimulate the regions of the brain involved in reward and cravings.

The study of high-glycemic index foods by researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital investigated how eating is regulated by the dopamine-containing pleasure centers of the brain.

“Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive,” said David Ludwig, MD, PhD, and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center.

To examine the link, researchers measured blood glucose levels and hunger. They also used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe brain activity in the four hours after a meal, a time period, they say, that influences eating behavior at the next meal.

The researchers recruited 12 overweight or obese men for the study. They had them eat two test meals made up of milkshakes that had the same calories, taste and sweetness. While the two milkshakes were essentially the same, one contained rapidly digesting — or high-glycemic index — carbohydrates, while the other was made up of slowly digesting (or low-glycemic index) carbohydrates.

The researchers found that after the men drank the high-glycemic index milkshake, they experienced an initial surge in blood sugar levels, followed by sharp crash four hours later.
This decrease in blood glucose was associated with excessive hunger and intense activation of the nucleus accumbens, a critical brain region involved in addictive behaviors, according to the researchers.

“These findings suggest that limiting high-glycemic index carbohydrates like white bread and potatoes could help obese individuals reduce cravings and control the urge to overeat,” said Ludwig. Click here for great list of ways to educate yourself and limit high-glycemic index carbohydrates in your diet. Click here for a list of high and low GI foods .

He acknowledges that the concept of food addiction remains provocative, noting that the findings from the new study suggest that more interventional and observational studies be done.

Before you take a class at Sana Vita Studio be sure you are eating foods with a low-glycemic level. These, as the study explains, will provide a slow release of glucose to the blood without an accompanying insulin surge. Insulin increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents fat cells from releasing fat for energy, resulting in weight gain.

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