Sunday, November 11, 2007

Addiction to sweets

According to an article in today's newspaper, even drug-addicted rats chose water mixed with saccharine over water mixed with cocaine!

These findings were presented last week at the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience in San Diego. C0-author, Magalie Lenoir of the University of Bordeaux in France, said that, "intense sweetness is more rewarding to the rats than cocaine." These scientists believe that this preference for sweets might partially explain the overconsumption of sugary foods by persons in modern society and the rise in human obesity.

This study is interesting to me on several levels. The fact that the sweet drink was not sweetened with sugar but with saccharine indicates that the addictive property of "sweets" is not just an addiction to "sugar." I have often thought that sugar was addictive, but I had never before considered that the sweet taste is what is addictive!

As a person who has battled a weight problem throughout my lifetime, I have frequently observed that my "need" for sweets is sometimes physically uncontrollable, similar to a physical addiction. I have also observed that my desire for sweets decreases dramatically after I abstain for a week or so. Another puzzling aspect of this phenomena to me is that my body responds the same to sweets whether those sweets are sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened.

Maybe these researchers are on to something.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I definitely think they're onto something. I think sweets are addictive - and I also think carbohydrates such as bread are addictive, too.