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Is there drug to treat sugar addiction?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers are now suggesting a drug to help people with sugar addiction. According to researchers sugar acts the same as nicotine in the brain. Once you're hooked, you just want more. Excess sugar consumption is a leading cause of obesity, whether it's from soft drinks, baked goods or soft drinks, which many of us just can't resist.


Queensland University of Technology researchers are trying to find way to help people with weight loss. The proposal is that the same drugs that treat nicotine addiction might help keep us away from sugar.

The new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed the same medications used to help people stop smoking could help stop sugar cravings in animals.

Why we crave sugar and how drugs would work

Neuroscientist Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation explained in a media release sugar..."has....been shown to repeatedly elevate dopamine levels which control the brain's reward and pleasure centres in a way that is similar to many drugs of abuse including tobacco, cocaine and morphine.

Statistics show 600 billion people worldwide are obese and 1.9 billion are overweight.

Drugs like Chantix that are prescribed to stop smoking help balance dopamine levels. When we experience withdrawal from a substance that gives us pleasure it can make us feel irritable, tired and unable to concentrate - which is why if you love sugar, you reach for it over and over again to get a "lift".

Sugar cravings increase over time. After a while, some just isn't enough. We need more and more to keep us feeling "rewarded".

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And in case you feel safe with artificial sweeteners - think again.

"Interestingly, our study also found that artificial sweeteners such as saccharin could produce effects similar to those we obtained with table sugar, highlighting the importance of reevaluating our relationship with sweetened food per se", Bartlett explains.

The researchers found FDA approved drugs for nicotine addiction could work the same for stopping sugar cravings and even help us get rid of the feeling we need sweets altogether.

The video below explains how sugar and food addiction occur in the brain.

Sugar is hiding in bread, barbecue sauce, ketchup, pasta sauce, granola bars, fruit yogurt, dried fruits, vanilla soy milk, salad dressings and more. If you add up all of the foods that contain sugar that we consume daily you can see how just a bite of a cupcake could contribute to sugar addiction that can thwart even the best diet plan.

When you consider how many foods contain corn syrup and hidden sugars, maybe a drug to cure sugar addiction is a good idea. What do you think? Are you addicted to sugar? If you're not sure, take this quiz at eatclean.com to find out.

Images: Pixabay