Food Manufacturers Use Dirty Trick to Keep Us Hooked

A research team from Boston Children’s Hospital has performed a study that helps explain why processed foods – namely processed carbohydrates – are so hard to stop eating once you start.

The study found that consuming rapidly-digesting carbohydrates with a high glycemic index triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a dopamine-containing, pleasure-regulating part of the brain associated with addiction.

Study leader David Ludwig, MD, PhD, explains, “beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive.”

Dr. Ludwig and his team’s experiment involved twelve men who were considered overweight or obese. The men were given 2 different milkshakes, at different times, and then observed for 4 hours after each milkshake. They were given blood glucose level tests, their hunger levels were investigated, and they were given MRIs to observe their brain activity during these 4 hour time periods.

The milkshakes were identical, except for one factor. They both contained the same number of calories, had the same taste, and had the same level of sweetness. However, one of the milkshakes contained rapidly-digesting carbs, such as those found in processed flours, and the other contained slowly-digesting carbs.

The study participants showed significant differences after consuming the rapidly-digesting carb milkshake, as opposed to the other one. Researchers observed an immediate spike in participants’ blood sugar levels, and a subsequent crash four hours later. This crash came with intense hunger, and this could be seen in the MRIs, where the nucleus accumbens was activated to a great extent, signaling a neurologically traceable desire for more.

These findings certainly coincide with why most processed foods have refined flour as one of their top ingredients. The Boston Children’s Hospital researchers have just scientifically observed what these manufacturers have known to some degree for years; refined carbs lead to cravings for more refined carbs, and affect the body and brain in a very similar way to addictive drugs.

cakeThese manufacturers know that adding refined flours to their products will make you want to keep eating them.

Beware of advertising stickers that say “made with whole grains.” One look at the label will usually reveal that refined, white flour is present as well, usually in a larger concentration than the whole grain content. Processed food execs know that it is these processed, high-glycemic index carbohydrates that will keep you coming back for more.

Dr. Ludwig says, “these findings suggest that limiting high-glycemic index carbohydrates like white bread and potatoes could help obese individuals reduce cravings and control the urge to overeat.”

The same holds true for all of us, whether we struggle with obesity or not. If we do not wish to become slaves to the processed food industry, and give our hard-earned dollars to pushers who sell us nutritionally-void, addictive carbohydrates that make us unhealthy and overweight, we need to avoid processed foods entirely.

-The Alternative Daily


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