Archive for the tag - addiction

Oreos More Addictive Than Cocaine!

oreoIf you’ve ever had an Oreo cookie, you know that it’s almost impossible to stop. One cookie becomes two. Two becomes three. And then, before you know it, the whole bag is gone. But just how addictive are Oreo cookies really?

Researchers from Connecticut College built a rat maze with two sides. On one side, the rats got rice cakes. On the other, Oreo cookies. The rats were then able to choose which side they wanted to explore, and researchers recorded the amount of time spent on each side. The results were compared to a similar experiment in which the rats were given either injections of saline or cocaine and morphine.

According to the data, the rats spent just as much time with the Oreo cookies as they did with cocaine and morphine. But it doesn’t end there.

Researchers also examined the number of neurons activated in the brain’s “pleasure center” when the cookies were consumed. The rats, in fact, received more pleasure from the Oreo cookies than they received from either cocaine or morphine.

What does it all mean? The study designer speculates that high fat, high sugar foods like Oreo cookies may present an even greater health hazard than drugs because of their affordability, availability and association with obesity.

Of course, research done on rats doesn’t always translate to humans. And the research isn’t to say that Oreo cookies, in particular, are any more addictive than other high fat and high sugar foods. But rather, it’s an important cautionary tale to remember the next time you go grocery shopping.

How to Break Your Sugar Habit: 7 Tips.

sugar addictionMmmm…. Sugar.

According to experts, sweet is the first taste that humans prefer from birth. But it’s also extremely addictive. In fact, one study found that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.

Unfortunately, eating too much sugar can result in weight gain, metabolic disorders (a precursor to diabetes) and even some forms of cancer. In other words, it’s not good - and most of us are getting way more sugar than the recommended daily limit.

Breaking a sugar habit isn’t easy. But it’s possible. And these tips will help:

  1. Eat a little, not a lot. When wanting to indulge in something sweat or sugary, just have a few bites. A Cornell study found that eating a few bites satisfies cravings as much as larger portions. When it comes to sugary foods, think portions of 100 calories or less.
  2. Wait it out. Cravings come and go; most last only a few minutes. Distract yourself for 10 minutes by reading a book, calling a friend or watching Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube videos.
  3. Work it out. Better than waiting out cravings, engage in exercise - even if it’s just a short walk. In fact, one study found that chocolate cravings dropped significantly after physical exercise.
  4. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit. Unlike eating candy or chocolates, fruits are packed with essential nutrients; in addition to satisfying your sweet tooth, you’ll load up on vitamins, minerals and fiber. I keep frozen, unsweetened cherries in my freezer for this very purpose. One or two cherries totally does the trick. Try bananas, apples, berries or anything else!
  5. Eat regular meals. Skipping breakfast, lunch or dinner can result in unstable blood sugar levels and irrational cravings. Keep your blood sugar in check by eating regular meals and by favoring complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates (think brown rice and wheat bread over white rice and white bread).
  6. Don’t replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. While artificial sweeteners may cut out the calories, they still feed your sugar addiction and they elevate your risk for obesity. Artificial sweeteners are not the answer!
  7. Find a substitute. If you have a habit of eating dessert after dinner, replace your sugary dessert with something healthier. Instead, you may decide to opt for a soothing cup of tea.

If you have any tips for kicking your sugar habit, please share them in the comments below!

Am I Addicted to Chocolate?

6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day is the recommendation. But for him, I'd make an exception.

Dear Davey,

Of late I’ve been working on dropping fat and building muscle definition but I have a small problem; I like chocolate a lot. I’m eat maybe just 25 grams per day but I still fear that this might be undoing all of my good work. Can you please help or offer some suggestions?


Dear Robbie,

Chocolate, in moderation, can actually be beneficial to the body. Researchers have concluded that the magic number is 6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day - which is roughly the equivalent of 1/2 chocolate bar per week. Milk chocolate and white chocolate don’t provide the same benefits, so opt for high quality dark chocolate. In a nutshell, eating 6.7 grams of dark chocolate per day decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and helps lower blood pressure.

If you find yourself unable to control your sweet tooth, look elsewhere in your diet. Sugar is addictive; drinking fewer sugary drinks (sodas, fruit punch, etc.), eating fewer desserts, candies and the like will decrease your cravings for sweet foods. Moreover, it’s recommended that you eat foods that are low on the glycemic index. These foods are digested slowly, and they help keep blood sugar levels stable. You have to break the sugar-sugar cycle.

It’s also worth looking at your behaviors. Do you overeat chocolate when you’re bored, lonely or upset? If so, it’s worth examining and resolving any underlying issues (if they exist) that are causing you to binge on chocolate. In other words, chocolate addiction may be the symptom of a deeper and more complex underlying issue.

The bottom line: When it comes to chocolate, less is certainly more.


Are You A Sugar Addict?

The effect of sugar on our bodies is anything but sweet.

Sugar looks a lot like cocaine and acts a lot like heroin when it interacts with our brains. But is it really addictive - and if so, what can you do to overcome it?

I just finished reading an email from an obese 19 year-old boy who is unable to control his sweet tooth. He claims that even after exercising, he craves sugar and inevitably binges on the sweet stuff.

He’s not alone. Sugar is a huge contributor to America’s obesity and health problems. Sugar consumption has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to cardiovascular disease and liver disease. Moreover, sugar is flushed with empty calories, meaning they are devoid of nutritional content.

In the last few years, research has been done to illustrative sugar’s addictive qualities. In 2009, a study titled Sugar and Fat Bingeing Have Notable Differences in Addictive-Like Behavior concluded that sugar bingeing causes withdrawal symptoms and cravings much like addictive drugs.

So… are you addicted? You may be addicted to sugar if:

  • When you don’t get your daily dose of sugar, you become cranky or irritable.
  • You are unable to cut down on eating sweet foods.
  • You have had a “sugar hangover”.

But fear not: Sugar addiction can be overcome. If you are looking to cut down on sugar, it’s recommended that you eat foods that are low on the glycemic index. These foods are digested slowly, and they help keep blood sugar levels stable. Surround yourself with support, and forgive yourself if you fall down or “cheat”. Get up, and keep at it.

When modifying a diet, I always recommend focusing on those delicious things that you can eat rather than what you can’t. Instead of operating from a place of weakness and deficit, you can come from a place of abundance and power. Instead of focusing on Skittles and cupcakes (and inevitably developing a craving), think about all the wonderful foods you are able to eat.

And if you aren’t addicted to sugar, use this knowledge as a cautionary tale. Keep your sugar consumption to a minimum, and do your best to get it from natural, unprocessed sources.

Are you or someone you know addicted to sugar? Tell me about it in the comments below.