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Wanna Shut Down Dopamine Receptors?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

For Day 2, my goal was to start working through the Spark article about understanding food addiction and how to deal with it. The author is Pamela Peeke, a physician and scientist and Pew Foundation scholar in nutrition and metabolism. From her photo it appears that she has successfully avoided or overcome food addiction!

The information in her article that I'm thinking about today is about HYPERPALATABLE foods. When food is processed or refined, or simply combined, to be sugary and salty and fatty, our bodies and brains respond to it in a non-natural and devastating way. I'm thinking of Honey BBQ chips, Salted caramel latte, chocolate covered pretzels, maple flavored sausage, chicken nuggets with honey mustard....the list is endless. If you think of what foods are practically irresistable to you, chances are it has the salt-sweet-greasy combo!

Quoting now:
"Thanks to the advent of specialized scans that allow researchers to peer into the brain, we've discovered what is now believed to be the basic mechanisms underlying all addictions. This is what is happening inside your brain:

1.Your Reward Center is Hijacked: In any addictive state, we now know that the reward center in your brain undergoes organic changes. In the case of food, it's usually the hyperpalatables that cause most of the problems. Overexposure to them causes too much dopamine (the brain chemical that helps you feel reward and pleasure) to flow, overwhelming the brain. The brain can't handle this long term and a primal mechanism kicks in resulting in a decrease in the total number of dopamine receptors (the only way to feel reward is when dopamine bonds with its receptor). The bad news is that as a consequence of this downshift in receptors, your own perception of reward significantly decreases. One cupcake is not enough. 2, 3, 20 can't do it. There's no period to the end of that sugary/fatty/salty sentence. This is how the addictive cycle begins. If you have addiction genetics in your family line, this entire process is magnified. You do not have to have addiction genetics to become food addicted. You just need that overexposure from your living environment."

In later blogs I will post more from this article. For now I need to think about this bit. I won't be blogging every day, but during this first quarter-term of my 500-Day journey, I will discuss other points of this article, God willing.

Here is the link for the article by Dr. Peeke.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • XXMILAXX downfall too!
    1820 days ago
  • -LINDA_S
    LOVE salty-greasy and sometimes sweet! Try to do it more or less naturally, though. Kathleen des Maisons has some great books on the subject and slowly detoxing from sugar addiction. Her website is called Radiant Recovery. Lots of stuff about serotonin, beta endorphins and dopamine.
    1827 days ago
  • NANCY-
    Maybe we should just stick to unprocessed plants.
    1828 days ago
    Food addiction is something that I believe is deliberately engineered: see ROSEWAND's blog and its link to the New York Times article on this topic. Scary indeed!

    Totally agree that no number of cupcakes etc would be enough once that addiction response kicks in . . .

    Great blog and I'm looking forward to the sequels, thanks!
    1828 days ago
  • SHARON2018
    1828 days ago
  • JMOUSE99
    Very informative. I believe I have an addictive personality and this fits right in with that. Thanks.
    1828 days ago
    I agree with what Dr. Peeke is saying. It is really, really best to prepare and cook your own food and in saying that keep at least 50% of your vegs raw, especially in summer when it is easy. Good link, thank you... I will look for the book in my library.
    1828 days ago
    Thanks for the reference and summary. It just makes me want to redouble my efforts to avoid those hyperpalatable foods. Wish I could help some of those people close to me to do the same, but I'll do what I can. Thanks again.
    1828 days ago
    I also read "The end of overeating" and learned about "Hyperpalatability". It's soooooo distressing. I hate that the food industry is capitalizing on this, maximizing their profits to the detriment of our health.

    I totally identify with the cycle she writes about. One is too many, 100 is never enough!

    Thank you for sharing this article.
    1828 days ago
  • DEBRA0818
    So much of what she's talking about is well-known in Overeaters Anonymous as well as Paleo and Primal Food affecionados -- there is an addictive quality for some people with some foods that drives INSANE behavior. Each person has to struggle toward what will help them become sane again, whether it be through faith in God, eating certain foods and avoiding others, or making lifestyle changes that support a reworking of life responses. I think all three, but any of them can have a serious effect on righting the ship of addiction.

    Thanks for posting!

    emoticon Debra
    1828 days ago
    Loved your blog! I haven't checked out the article, but I surely will. I recently read The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler - a book on much the same topic. It was really eye-opening when he described various foods as (e.g.) fat on salt on sugar on sugar on salt on fat on fat. One food after another described in those layers and layers and layers!

    I don't remember anything about dopamine receptor overload/shutdown, but I can't wait to learn. Keep your blogs coming!
    1828 days ago
    My motto is don't even start with one. One bite may lead to another.
    1828 days ago
    I can vouch for 1,2,3,..:::skip a few....22 is NOT enough! emoticon emoticon emoticon Oh Yes! I just don't start, unless I have a concrete indulgence plan.....:::which includes being mindful, moderate & tracking it all.

    I do KNOW that you are equipped! emoticon ....::::Laura
    1828 days ago
    I read that article and it really hit home. This is a struggle that I am fighting to win also. I will be praying for you and ask for prayer too. That article was very good and helped me to see how I keep allowing myself to fall into the vicious cycle.

    be blessed today my friend.

    1828 days ago
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