| Updated June 09, 2019
The brain uses more energy than any other organ in the human body and glucose is its primary source of fuel. But what happens when the brain is exposed to an excessive amount of sugars in the standard American diet? In this case, more is definitely not better.
In early humans, this stimulus helped lead them to calorie-rich foods, which aided survival when food was scare. But now this primitive drive contributes to our epidemics of obesity and diabetes. The behavioral and neurobiochemical characteristics of substance abuse and overeating are quite similar, and the idea of food addiction is gaining ground among scientists.
In humans, high-glycemic foods have been found to activate regions of the brain associated with the reward response and provoke more intense feelings of hunger compared to low-glycemic foods. Foods that cause a higher elevation in blood glucose produce a greater addictive drive in the brain.
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition used the glycemic index (GI)—a measure of how certain foods convert to sugar in the body—to test this process and found eating a high-GI meal elicited greater brain activity in regions involved in eating behavior, reward, and craving.
Additional studies on brain activity have provided evidence supporting the idea that overeating alters our brain’s reward system, which then further drives overeating. This same process is thought to underlie the tolerance associated with addiction.
Over time, greater amounts of the substance are required to reach the same level of reward. Studies imply that overeating results in a diminished reward response and a progressively worsening addiction to low-nutrient foods rich in sugar, salt, and fat.
Throughout the body, excess sugar is harmful. Even a single instance of elevated glucose in the bloodstream can be harmful to the brain, resulting in slowed cognitive function and deficits in memory and attention.
READ MORE: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-sugar-affects-the-brain-4065218?utm_campaign=health_tod&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cn_nl&utm_content=17281425&utm_term=
This article submitted by Pat France, MSRN Member