November 29, 2013
Are women predisposed to sugar addictions?
You all know the cliche image: A woman gets dumped and as her and her best friend sit at the edge of the bed declaring "what a jerk" he is and "how much better off she is without him", the ice cream comes out. But why is this? It could easily be a bucket of fried chicken or a bag of chips. But it's not. I've been with friends through breakups as well as my own and there was always a lot of ice cream consumed. A new study suggests that this may not be a random junk food selection. Women may actually find more solace in sugary comfort foods as opposed to salty. In our brain, a little receptor, the dopamine receptor D2 (or DRD2 for short), must be activated or switched on for us to feel pleasure. The amino acid dopamine triggers this response. Sugar and other stimulating addictions increase dopamine in the short term. The only problem is it appears that those with sugar addictions, compulsive eating, and obesity have DRD2 systems that need much more stimulation to feel pleasure. Those who have sugar addiction, it seems have fewer D2 dopamine receptors and they need extra stimulation to make them “turn on” Scientists have recently determined that a gene linked to obesity makes ice cream and sugary foods tastier for women. Dr. Patricia Silveira, from McGill University, said:
'We found that a variation in a gene that regulates the activity of dopamine, which regulates the individual's response to tasty food, predicted the amount of "comfort" foods - highly palatable foods such as ice cream, candy or calorie-laden snacks. This effect was especially increased for girls who we found carried the genetic allele that decreases dopamine function.'The science demonstrating that people can be biologically addicted to sugar in the same way we can be addicted to heroin, cocaine or nicotine is clear. Bingeing and addictive behaviors are eerily similar in alcoholics and sugar addicts. In fact, most recovering alcoholics often switch to another easily available drug: Sugar. Overcoming Your Addiction to Sugar Despite being stuck with the sugar addiction low pleasure gene, you may be able to modify its activity by modulating your brain chemistry and receptor function with the use of specific nutrients that either improve gene expression, or modify the activity, the enzymes, or the receptors, even if they are somewhat impaired. For those with personal struggles with food addiction, remember it is not a moral failing or lack of willpower. Here are a five suggestions to break food addictions. 1. Balance your blood sugar: Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable:
- Eat a nutritious breakfast with some protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss.
- Also, have smaller meals throughout the day. Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (lean animal protein, nuts, seeds, beans).
- Avoid eating 3 hours before bedtime.
- Optimize your vitamin D level: According to one study, when Vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that helps turn off your appetite doesn’t work and people feel hungry all the time, no matter how much they eat.
- Optimize omega-3s: Low levels of omega three fatty acids are involved in normal brain cell function, insulin control and inflammation.
- Consider taking natural supplements for cravings control. Glutamine, tyrosine, 5-HTP are amino acids that help reduce cravings. Stress reducing herbs such as Rhodiola can help. Chromium balances blood sugar and can help take the edge off cravings. Glucomannan fiber is very helpful to reduce the spikes in sugar and insulin that drive cravings and hunger.
Above all, balanced nutrition is key - which is exactly what our 14 Day Guide provides. Our nutrition guide gives you a full meal plan with modifiers and swap out foods because we KNOW not everyone likes the same foods. Click here to check out the nutrition guide.