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Most people are well aware that sugary drinks and snacks can be bad for the body, often providing empty calories and promoting obesity. However, you may not know just how frightening sugar’s influence can be. In this video, TED educator Nicole Avenue explains exactly what happens when you consume something that’s high in sugar—and the results are shockingly similar to those produced by alcohol and recreational drugs.
As you’ll find out, sugar triggers responses in everything from your tastes bud to your digestive system and your brain, activating your body’s reward system in an intense and immediate way. Just like the reaction induced by nicotine, alcohol or any other addictive substance, your body’s response to sugar is associated with a massive increase in dopamine—a neurotransmitter that encourages us to repeat behaviors that bring us pleasure.
Sometimes called the “feel good” chemical, dopamine has a powerful influence and is playing an increasingly central role in studies on the physiology of addiction. However, don’t purge your home of sugar just yet! This useful video will also help you understand how to enjoy sweetness in moderation, as it turns out that a healthy life doesn’t necessarily require giving up sugar for the rest of your days.
You’ll learn more about how your body responds not just to sugar, but also to food in general, enabling you to design better, more effective diet plans. Whether you’re primarily looking to lose weight, strengthen your cardiovascular system or reduce diabetes risk, understanding how your brain processes your daily food intake is an excellent first step towards developing a healthier body.