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!
"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.