BE CAREFUL: Too Much Holiday Binging Could Lead to Dopamine Release!

January 2, 2012

Doug Varrieur (author of Fat to Skinny) gave me a scare this morning – and I am glad he did since I was just thinking of looking for chocolate!  Doug’s comment is in direct response to my Reset and Restart Post of December 31st.  Read on.

Doug writes, “Falling off the wagon has more dramatic effects than you may realize. Blood sugar spikes from sugar and carb intake create Dopamine release in the brain re-triggering the addictions. BE CAREFUL….. This is the reason we have all become heavy. Dopamine, the feel good hormone is very powerful, it’s the same release a person gets during sex or drugs. SUGAR is addictive, just as addictive as booze or heroin. Falling off the low carb wagon is the same as a recovering alcoholic taking a drink during the holidays. Find support from this blog and seek support from my forum family located at They’ll kick your butt when you “fall off the wagon.””

I found this startling study on sugar addiction in wikipedia. “Research into sugar addiction was initiated at one research group at Princeton University where they fed rats chow as well as a 25% sugar solution – similar to the sugar concentration of soda-pop. In just 1 month the rats became dependent on their daily dose of sweet stuff, they gradually chose to eat less chow but increased their intake of the sugary drink until it doubled.”The rats were given a drug to block their opiate-receptors and showed withdrawal signs typical of drug-addicted rats- teeth chattering, paw tremors, and head shakes.” (from article on Sugar Addiction, wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

There is also evidence that some folks are more prone to sugar addiction than others.  There is a dopamine receptor which must be activated to feel pleasure, and the amino acid dopamine triggers this response. “Those who have sugar addiction, it seems have fewer D2 dopamine receptors and they need extra stimulation to make them “turn on.” “(Stopping Addiction to Sugar: Willpower or Genetics? by Mark Hyman, MD).

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