Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • This mouse loves sugar. He loves sugar so much that even after he's eaten and should

  • be pretty full, he crosses a metal platform that gives his feet electric shocks just to

  • get a sweet reward.

  • Sometimes our love of sugar makes us go a little overboard.

  • We've all been in that situation where we've had one cookie and then suddenlythe whole pack is gone.

  • And then, we crave more. So can you be addicted to sugar?

  • Let's revisit our mouse friendthat brave little guy who risked his life just

  • for some sugar dissolved in water.

  • When he did this, a pathway was lighting up from the hunger and feeding region of his

  • brain to another region important for motivation and reward.

  • He'd developed a reward seeking habit.

  • Looking at this pathway is like zooming in on our larger reward-processing centre.

  • Researchers found that activating it increases compulsive overeating and binge eating behavior.

  • And they found that shutting down the pathway decreased that sugar seeking behavior.

  • But it didn’t stop normal healthy eating behavior, like having dinner.

  • For us, a reward seeking behavior is going to the fridge or pantry and getting a cookie.

  • We're hardwired to love sugar because it has energy-dense calories.

  • And it keeps activating our brain’s reward system,

  • and these behaviors aren’t new to research.

  • In an established animal model, rats are food deprived for 12 hours and then they're given 12 hour access to sugar water and food.

  • As a result, they drink a lot of the sugar water, especially when it becomes first available.

  • After a month on this feeding schedule, the rats display behaviors similar to those seen

  • in drug abuse. They binge on the sugar, and show withdrawals, cravings and even depression

  • when it's not there. After this sugar bingeing the rats show a similar pattern of brain activity

  • as other rats who are morphine-dependent.

  • Many studies have compared sugar addiction to drug addiction, because they show similar

  • symptoms. Like increased tolerance, withdrawals and unsuccessful attempts to quit.

  • Could sugar really be as bad for us as drugs?

  • Some experts think so, arguing that sugar is toxic, messing with our hormones and harming our organs.

  • Thesugar is toxicargument is mainly related to fructoseit's one sugar primarily

  • found in table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Fructose can only be processed by our

  • liver, so consuming too much puts a lot of stress on it. It’s been suggested that over

  • time this can lead to metabolic syndrome, which in turn can lead to type 2 diabetes.

  • Not everyone agrees with these claims that sugar is evil. Some of the studies that link

  • fructose to health problems have been criticisedbecause in them animal or human participants

  • consumed way more fructose than most people would. And animals metabolise fructose differently

  • to humans. Studies show that mice and rats convert as much as 50% of fructose into fat,

  • while for humans it's more like one percent. What a fat rat.

  • And it's important to remember that many things, apart from sugar and drugs, can stimulate our brain's reward circuit.

  • Like exercise, gambling and to a lesser extent, fatty foods.

  • It doesn't necessarily mean were addicted to those things, we just find them pleasurable.

  • It's pretty clear that sugar is an addictive food. But even if you like eating chocolate

  • or donuts every day it doesn't mean youre addicted. Very few people are.

  • Still, if you are finding it impossible to reduce sugar cravings, doing regular exercise,

  • eating dairy products and even chewing gum have been shown to help.

  • Whatever you do, just don't cross a metal platform that gives your feet electric shocks

  • to get a sweet reward. It’s not gonna end well.

  • If you haven't already, check out my last episode on what sugar does to our bodies.

  • And subscribe to BrainCraft! It's pretty sweet.

This mouse loves sugar. He loves sugar so much that even after he's eaten and should

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 AU fructose reward addicted pathway behavior seeking

Can You be Addicted to Sugar?

  • 21426 1176
    Adam Huang posted on 2016/01/18
Video vocabulary