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Food Addiction Associated With Consumption Of Highly-Processed Carbohydrates

June 26, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
There is a definite connection between food intake and the dopamine-containing pleasure centers of the brain, according to a new brain imaging study that supports the idea of food addiction. U.S. researchers measured blood glucose levels and hunger in 12 overweight or obese men, while also using functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe brain activity during the four hours after a meal. That crucial time period influences eating behavior at the next meal. They found that consumption of highly-processed carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to rise quickly, then drop sharply soon after, sparking food cravings. The drop in blood sugar was associated with intense activation of a critical brain region involved in addictive behaviors.
Belinda S. Lennerz et al., "Effects of dietary glycemic index on brain regions related to reward and craving in men", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 26, 2013, © American Society for Nutrition
Food & Nutrition
Men's Health
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