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Is Your Carb Addiction Making You Fat? Here's the Cure

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Food Addiction

As reported on a recent episode of CBS This Morning, a new study is out where researchers tell us that eating carbohydrates in the form of sugary foods elicits a response in the pleasure center of the brain not unlike the same response drug addicts experience during a high.

“Cocaine, heroin…all of these addictive drugs light up the addiction center of the brain, and sugar does exactly the same thing,” states Dr. Mark Hyman author of the popular weight loss book “The Blood Sugar Solution.” Dr. Hyman discusses a new study from Harvard that shows that eating sugar or anything that causes your blood sugar levels to spike, in turn causes the addiction center of your brain to light up.

Dr. Hyman explains that the study involved 12 men who were divided into two groups that were given a milkshake to drink. The milkshakes were identical in taste, protein, fat and calorie count, but differed in their total amount of sugar with one group drinking a low-sugar milkshake and the other group drinking a high-sugar milkshake.

After drinking their milkshakes the participants were then given an MRI to see if there was a noticeable difference between the two groups in the lighting up of specific areas of the brain. What the researchers found was that the group that consumed the high-sugar milkshake experienced more cravings, became hungrier sooner and demonstrated in their MRIs activity in the brain associated with the addiction center―that sugar acts like a drug on the addiction center of the brain.

Dr. Hyman states that the results of the MRI appeared approximately 4 hours following the drinking of the high-sugar milkshakes and followed the typical pattern of having a blood sugar spike/high followed by a crash. This spike/high is what many health experts in weight loss say creates a vicious cycle that makes losing weight so difficult and leads to eating increasing amounts of foods that are rich in processed sugars.

When asked how we can kick this carb addiction habit, Dr. Hyman states that it is a problem, but one that can be managed.

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“This is something we can stop. The reason why we have so much obesity—70% of Americans, 40% of kids―is because we are eating a diet full of refined and processed sugars and starches. So getting rid of those things or having them as a treat rather than as a staple is key,” says Dr. Hyman. “Having protein with each meal and good quality fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds will help balance your blood sugar.”

An additional point made is that by allowing kids to be on a diet that is high in sugar exacerbates the problem of making the addiction hard to kick because it adversely affects the development of their brain when it is young and most malleable.

“Imagine if Kobe Bryant was promoting cocaine water on television—what would that be like? This is exactly what is happening,” says Dr. Hyman. “We need to rethink our approach to food marketing; our approach to how we let kids have access to these foods,” he adds recommending that we need to get kids on good carbs rather than bad carbs.

“It’s about the quality of calories. So low-starch calories such as vegetable, fruits, nuts, beans and seeds—those are good carbs. The bad carbs are sugar, flour, potatoes and other starches,” says Dr. Hyman.

To find out more about how to control your carb addiction, here is some advice from Dr. Oz that tells you how you can lose 20 pounds by cutting your carb cravings and by learning how to eat the right kinds of carbs.

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: CBS This Morning― “Are you addicted to carbs?”