City AM – 11 April 2016 – Sugar lovers beware: anti-smoking drugs could curb sweet cravings
Drugs used to treat nicotine addiction could be applied to treat similar addictions to sugar, according to the new study from the Queensland University of Technology published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The researchers found sugar affects the same “reward pathways” in the brain as tobacco, drugs and alcohol, meaning high-sugar foods can be just as addictive. Excess consumption has also been shown to lead to a reduction in the levels of dopamine released when a sugary food is eaten, which can lead to “higher consumption of sugar to get the same level of reward”.
“I think there are some valid points being made in this research. Nicotine, sugar and caffeine all work on similar neural processes, and if these processes are interrupted, then perhaps an individual would be more motivated and helped to quit earlier,” Dr Bijal Chheda-Varma, practitioner psychologist at Nightingale Hospital in London, said.
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