This part of your brain causes compulsive eating

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon

Welcome to Day 3 of the Sugar Sobriety Series :) 

Yesterday I shared with you how sugar hijacks the brain’s pleasure center (the nucleus accumbens) and today I’ll explain how sugar activates the brain’s reward systems.

Did you catch the plural? Unlike other addictive substances, sugar activates TWO regions in the brain’s reward system: sweetness and calories. This is part of the reason why sugar is so hard to resist. 

Fortunately for us, these rewards don’t travel along the same brain circuitry (this is where the hack comes in). Sweetness is processed in the ventral striatum and nutrition (calories) is processed in the dorsal striatum. 

Why this matters: Researchers have recently discovered thatthe brain’s desire for calories overrides the desire for sweetness. 

In one experiment, mice were given two drinks: A sugary (high calorie) drink mixed with a bitter, awful-tasting compound and a sweet (zero-calorie) drink. 

Surprisingly, the mice drank more of the high-calorie bitter drink! 

To confirm the results, the researchers removed the dorsal striatum from the mice and repeated the experiment. Now, without the brain region that desires calories, the mice choose the sweet-tasting zero-calorie drink and not the high-calorie bitter one. 

🤯 🤯 🤯

The researchers concluded: 

1. This area of the brain (the pleasure center) commands behavior. In this case, it forced the mice to keep drinking, even though it tasted terrible. 

2. The command is so strong that it allowed the mice to disregard any aversion (bitter taste) in order to prioritize calorie-seeking.

3. There is a hierarchy in the reward center and the desire for calories supersedes the desire for sweetness. 

If you recall the fun fact I shared yesterday about sweet, sour, and bitter tastes (and the mesolimbic pathway) the impact of #2 is ENORMOUS. 

I also hope #1 can be another reassurance for you that you are not weak or lacking self-discipline when it comes to sugar.

#3 (the hierarchy part) is where the “hack to the hijack” is. 

Knowing that calories win over sweetness, giving your body calories (provided they are high quality and not from sugar) is one way you can hack the hijack. 

This ‘hack’ won’t arrest your physical addiction to sugar, but it can support you. 

The only path away from physical addiction is sobriety. 
(You know this).

Despite reading 88 papers and books on sugar and addiction, I’ve found no other answer. 

You’ve got to go without sugar for a few days to reclaim your brain.

MORE GOOD NEWS: Diving around in all this science, I was able to find a way to ‘hack’ the painful withdrawal process from sugar. 

Instead of being torturous, I can make it tolerable (possibly even painless) for you. 

If you’re serious about getting off sugar and think you’d have a better shot at doing it if your brain wasn’t on fire (and you didn’t feel like stabbing everyone around you) do not miss tomorrow’s email.

Using science, I’ve formulated a simple 8-day protocol that helps you arrest sugar cravings, softens withdrawal symptoms, and stabilizes your mood and energy as you unhook yourself from sugar. 

This is a great opportunity for you to break free of sugar FOR GOOD.

Imagine how great it’ll be to gain control over your brain again.

Imagine having stable moods, steady energy, and freedom from cravings! 

You’ll have an opportunity to get my 8-day sugar sobriety protocol tomorrow. 

Look for this email because it is a limited offer. 

If you know that you would feel better, be less inflamed, and probably lose some of that extra body fat by quitting sugar, this protocol is going to help you succeed. 

If you’re tired of being controlled by cravings and/or you don’t like your behavior around sugar, this protocol will bring you peace. 

And if you suffer from energy dips or mood highs and lows, this protocol can help you too, even if you don’t have “a little sugar problem.” 😇

THANK YOU for letting me geek out with you and share what I’ve learned about sugar and the brain 🧠 I like knowing we’re fighting back against food enablers (aka food manufacturers) and reclaiming our neurobiology! 

HOW TO USE THE ‘HIERARCHY HACK’ (above): If you’re craving something sugary, eat nutritious, calorically appropriate food. That means choosing something substantial like a cup of bean soup rather than a cucumber or 4 rice cakes. HOWEVER, be careful with highly caloric or highly palatable whole foods that are easy to overeat on, such as raw nuts, peanut butter, or hummus. These foods can help to reduce sugar cravings, but they could also activate the brain’s desire for calories. (For me, I find this “risk” only applies when I try to eat those foods singly, that is, without other food OR I’m trying to “stave off hunger” rather than eat a meal properly). 

If you’re serious about getting off sugar…

… and think you’d be more successful with a simple protocol that makes it easier...

Don’t miss tomorrow’s email!!! 

You will have the opportunity to get my new, research-based 8-day Sugar Sobriety Protocol, early at a discounted price. 

If you’re not on the newsletter (it’s free) signup here to get the offer. (The special link to get the discounted price won’t be posted here on the blog! It’s in the newsletter only.) 

I’m so proud of you for seizing this opportunity to unhook yourself from sugar. 

By now it’s clear just how terrible sugar is. You deserve to be in control of YOUR choices. Getting OFF sugar gives puts you back in the driver’s seat. 

Talk soon,

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