Sunday 6 November 2011

Brain scans may show addiction to soda, sugar, and certain processed fatty foods


What changes in your brain may be caused by soda, fatty foods, processed foods, and sugar? You can check out the Bloomberg News article by Robert Langreth and Duane D. Stanford, which appeared today in the November 6, Sacramento Bee, "Soda, fatty foods may spur addiction." In that article, studies are reported that show changes in the human brain. But sometimes the average consumer may not know which foods are addictive and which foods are healthier for the individual. Cupcakes may be addictive just like cocaine, according to the article, "Soda, fatty foods may spur addiction." Basically the medical studies at leading universities mentioned in the article show that processed foods and sugary drinks hijack the brain "in ways that resemble addictions to cocaine, nicotine, and other drugs." You have to examine the data, which the article reports is overwhelming. And the point of the article explains that scientists are finding evidence of overlap between drugs in the brain and food. Why does food, well, certain types of food, hit the brain like a bomb or rather like a drug and change the brain in much the same way as addiction to drugs change the brain? Food is medicine, say some scientists. And other researchers say food is addictive. The Lab tests so far have found that sugary drinks and fatty foods may produce addictive behavior in animals. Then human brain scans were done by the scientists. But the scans looked compulsive eaters and obese participants. What the scientists found were disturbances in brain-reward circuits similar to those experienced by drug addicts or drug abusers. In 2011, there are already 28 published studies on food addiction. You can look up these articles in the National Library of Medicine database. See the site, National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. You have on one hand scientists looking at processed, commercial foods that they are calling addictive. But will industry put it's foot in the door so to speak when the food and beverage businesses generate one trillion dollars, according to the article? The news article doesn't state whether the one trillion dollar food industry figure is annual or not. What both the scientists and the industry are watching for is any real proof that fatty foods and snacks sweetened with sugar or corn syrup are addictive. So far, there's no proof in writing with a definitive statement saying certain foods are addictive drugs or behave like addictive drugs in the human brain. On the other hand, for shoppers, the consumer battle depends on what scientists can find that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Now it's a legal problem. You can check out the website of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. See, Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity — Home. The site contains numerous articles. See, On Preventing Nutrition Negligence. There also are the results of seminars you can peruse. See, Excess Intake and Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Potential Implications on Healthcare Costs and Selling Public Health Policy in Derivative Markets: Lessons from the 2009-2010 New York State Sugary Beverage Excise Tax Campaigns. For example in the 2011 newsletter of the Rudd Center, you can read a brief article about why the Rudd Center objects to recent criticism of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose suitability as a potential presidential candidate has been challenged because of his body weight. Another focus is the language that health care providers use when discussing a child's weight with parents can reinforce weight-based stigma and jeopardize discussions about health, according to a study recently published by the Rudd Center. The study appeared in the journal Pediatrics. President Obama Urged to Protect Children from Junk-Food Marketing Food advocates across the country are asking the President to act now to protect children from junk-food marketing. The country’s leading researchers and advocates for healthy eating, coordinated by the Prevention Institute, unveiled “We’re Not Buying It,” a video highlighting deceptive marketing to children and launched a campaign urging the President to stand up for children’s health, according to an article posted at the Rudd Center. The Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (IWG) proposed reasonable, science-based nutrition guidelines to help provide a model for companies that market to kids. However, the food industry and media companies are working to get Congress and the Administration to stop the IWG from finalizing these sensible recommendations. The campaign calls on the President to join parents, doctors, and public health practitioners in standing up for children’s health by supporting the voluntary guidelines, according to the Rudd Center's October 2011 newsletter. Check out the many nutrition-related articles and reports in their current and archived newsletters. Also see the site, EWG Takes a Stand on Food Marketed for Children. Anti-smoking Foods: What foods help motivate people to stop smoking or never start? What area the best foods to motivate you to quit smoking or to never start the habit? First, you avoid some of the most addictive foods, sugar, milk shakes, ice cream, cheese, chocolate, and processed or BBQ'd meats. Instead you eat sweet fruits when you crave sweets, such as an apple or banana. Next, you eat vegetables other than fries. Try a salad of shrimp or salmon, raw spinach, celery, carrots, red bell peppers, yellow squash or zucchini, raw mung bean sprouts, and chopped green onions. What happens to your body when you detox from smoking is a 10-day period of imbalance. The more green and red vegetables and fruits you eat, the quicker you'll get the nicotine toxins out of your body. Also try a little vitamin C, if your health condition permits taking vitamins. Drink lots of filtered, purified water. If milk and cheese causes you to crave suites, avoid dairy products and drink almond milk, hemp milk, or hazelnut milk. Or try a bowl of black rice and raw, organic sauerkraut and a dish of chili beans without meat. By avoiding the four most addictive foods which are sugar, chocolate, cheese, and red meat, especially cheese burgers, you will not stir up cravings for highly addictive foods that most people eat daily without realizing how 'hooked' on sugar, red or cold-cut meat, and cheese they really are. Also, don't load up on bread. Try crackers. Instead eat apples and cinnamon. Spices reduce cravings as do apples. You might cook a pot of boiled brown rice with a handful of raisins or other sweet, dried fruit such as goji berries, blue berries, or cherries and a dash of cinnamon and cloves. When the rice is cooked and fragrant, add a can of coconut milk, and let the cooked rice absorb the coconut milk. Thin the coconut milk with almond milk. Serve chilled. The fragrance of the dried fruit, such as dehydrated nectarines in the brown rice is filling and sweet without addicting you to dairy and table sugar or white rice. If you can't tolerate whole grains, try an egg drop soup made from boiled diced onions, celery and carrots into which you drop by the tablespoonful two beaten eggs. Flavor with cilantro and any spices or seasonings you enjoy. For more bulk, add a cup of cooked chick peas, pinto beans, or black beans to the soup and slices of avocado. Spices cut down on cravings for sweets as well as for other food items familiar to you such as the food that creates cravings which are sugar, cheese, chocolate, and meat. What helps most in food items to help you quit smoking? Apples, ginger, and cinnamon. And adding garlic to any foods also helps you cut the cravings. Think spices and herbs--ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and garlic added to foods. Save the garlic for the savory foods like fish, beans, and grains. Also a dash of curry and turmeric help. The spicier the food as long as you can stand the spices and herbs, the lower the cravings for smoking or for sweets. Sometimes coconut milk because it's medium chain saturated fats also helps you cut the cravings. But go easy on the fats. Olive oil on salads also helps as long as you don't crave lots of cheese with the olive oil. Be aware of your cravings for dairy unless you're lactose intolerant and don't enjoy dairy items such as cheese. Instead, you may prefer organic raw sauerkraut and fermented foods such as tempeh which you could use instead of cheese. For example, try sauerkraut over tempeh, which is fermented soy. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Numerous fermented foods are made more digestible by the fermentation process with cultures, molds, or bacteria that is said to help digestion.