This effect is so potent, for example, that scientists can conduct studies in insects and rodents where the genes responsible for sweet taste detection are deactivated (i.e., they can no longer taste sweets) and the organisms still strongly prefer sugar-sweetened (but not artificially sweetened) water due to this secondary brain-reward system.
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Sugar is a ubiquitous and pleasurable part of modern life. Yet like other two-faced companions of modernity—such as social media and smartphones—we can benefit from research that helps us balance the risks versus rewards.
Secondly, excess sugar consumption causes dysbiotic changes in the gut microbiome (the bacteria living inside the stomach and intestines) that also disrupt the hippocampus. Collectively, this research may help explain the growing scientific consensus regarding a potential causal relations...
Sugary foods calm us in two ways: via the hedonic properties of the food (sugar triggering the dopaminergic brain reward pathway) and by altering metabolic and neurohormonal function (e.g., lowering cortisol levels and up-regulating “happiness hormones” like sero...
Sugar is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the nutrition world. Pleasure and poison, desire and danger, love and Lucifer; sugar somehow embodies all these qualities and more in our modern culture. Part sweet-tasting nutrient (sugar is a source of carbohydrates, one ...
One of the most common reasons fueling our sugar preoccupation is the rapid soothing effect it has on our emotions. Almost from birth, we begin pacifying ourselves with food and drink. The most effective “comfort foods” almost always contain significant amounts of natural or adde...
What does this mean? A sweet tooth can be rapidly learned. With just a few weeks of regular exposure to high-sugar foods, participants’ brains in this study rewired themselves to find these foods more pleasurable and dislike alternatives.
Mother Nature is too smart to be fooled by artificial sweeteners. She knows how to detect real sugar. In fact, she gave us not one, but two systems to make sure of it. System one is our tastebuds: The ability to detect sweet tastes is programmed right into our mouths.
Have you ever consumed something so sweet that it actually made you feel ill? If so, ask yourself how Americans can stomach eating, on average, over 126 grams (almost 30 teaspoons) of sugar a day.
The answer is that the more sugar we eat, the more sweet-tolerant we become. ...
Although health experts caution us about sugar consumption due to sugar’s contribution to obesity and diabetes, arguably the most worrisome harm associated with sugar is its effect on brain function.
Sugar appears to interfere with healthy brain function in at least two way...
In a March 2023 study published in Cell Metabolism, researchers reported findings from a clinical trial of normal-weight adults assigned to consume either a daily high-sugar/high-fat snack or a low-sugar/low-fat snack. Over the 8 weeks of the study, the researchers observed a pronoun...
Technically called “chemosensory plasticity,” numerous studies show in species ranging from insects to humans that high-sugar diets rapidly increase tolerance to sweet tastes. What was once too sweet to stomach now becomes just right. For the typical person, this increased sweet ...
“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison
While most recent media attention to sugar focuses on potential health harms and ways to reduce sugar intake, neuroscientific research about sugar has revealed how and why this plain white substance wields so much power in our lives. Here are five of the most compelling findings.
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