Lots of people may find sugary foods hard to resist and for many people their sweet tooth drives them to eat foods that are unhealthy. But there’s a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that sugary foods can be more than just a preference. They can actually be addictive.
Author David Ludwig who wrote Ending the Food Fight, and his group of researchers at Harvard conducted a study that showed that high sugar foods and others such as white flour and refined starch have an especially high glycemic index and trigger the the nucleus accumbens region of the brain. This is the area that is also sparked in response to alcohol, drugs, gambling and other things we think of as addictions. Scientists used brain scans to show that high sugar, high carb foods spurred a brain response similar to that of cocaine! So, it’s easy to see how eating highly processed and sugary foods regularly can lead to a habit that is hard to break.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men.
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