Sugar and Cocaine, What’s The Connection?
Do you crave something sweet? My favorite is dark chocolate. Now researchers at Queensland University of Technology say sugar can produce the same reaction in the brain as addictive drugs like cocaine. How is that possible? The reward system in the brain is stimulated with sugar and increases dopamine. This “feel good” is also associated with the driving force in drug addiction and binging behavior.
Looking at the connection between dopamine and sugar could lead researchers to other connections in repeated drug abuse. Starting with dopamine and sugar, researchers treated rats with varenicline for 4 or 12 weeks to see if the rats would eat less sugar. In fact the longer treatment time resulted in less sugar consumption, and activated a receptor called a4β2, which is responsible for curbing the craving.