However, these “addiction producers” are also stuck in milk, fruit and meat.
They’re hot sugar.
Under certain conditions, fat can also promote addiction-like eating behavior, but never without the sugar as a companion.
But there are certainly no “secret” ingredients in Big Mac, fries and cheese burgers that make us addicts, and the nearest McDonald’s branch a dealer.
The questioner has put the word “addiction” in quotation marks.This shows a certain scepticism, and that is justified.
In contrast to the media, science is not yet completely convinced that this term is actually applicable to certain eating behaviours.
To understand this reticence, we need to clarify two things:
First, what is addiction, and secondly, how can vital nutrients come into the call to generate addiction.
What is addiction?
Roughly worded: The psychological and physical inability to avoid the consumption of a substance, despite clearly harmful consequences.
The World Health Organization has defined this in more detail as dependency syndrome in the ICD-10 guidelines.
As a result, the diagnosis is made “dependent” if 3 out of 6 criteria are met.
You probably know the following three:
- A strong desire or a kind of compulsion to consume.
- Decreased control capacity in relation to the start, termination or quantity of consumption.
- Continued consumption despite evidence of clearly harmful consequences.
There is already a presumption that the obesity (obesity) of some contemporaries may be due to dependence on certain foods or nutrients.
The main suspect nutrient is sugar.It is best researched. It is also the sole source of energy for the brain.
Which brings us to the next point.
Why should sugar be addictive?
Homo Sapiens’ preference for all sweetness explains the priority of sugar as an energy supplier to the brain.With it, the brain already steered our ancestors to the procurement and preferential consumption of sugary foods.
For this “control”, the brain uses hormones, which it releases when consuming the sugar.Dopamine and acetylcholine are among them, as well as endogenous opioids such as enkephalin and endo-morphine.
At the latest with the names “opioid” and “morphine” it becomes plausible why some scientists cannot befriend the term sugar addiction.
Decoding the hormonal control of sugar consumption is a by-product of addiction research.
At the beginning there was the question of what physiological mechanisms drive people to drugs.
At the end of the day, the surprising realization that the difference between sugar and the drug lies essentially in their potency.
Is sugar “addictive” or not?
Unfortunately, with the gold standard of research, the randomized control study, we cannot test this in humans.
To do this, we would have to pour enough sugar into the food of a group of subjects to see if the behaviour that is typical of addiction for a while is to be demonstrated.
Such an experiment would be given the green light at best by the ethics committee of the Kim Yong Un School of Human Rights.
But we can do that to rats.And the experiments show that the animals actually react to feeding with so-called cafeteria food (which means you can imagine) with a dependency behavior.
In these experiments, of course, the researchers are to blame for this, because the animals have no choice after all.
If the same thing happens to you at McDonald’s, McDonald’s has a partial debt, and only if it hides a lot of added sugar in BigMac and Chicken McNuggets.
You can easily find out whether they do so on their website.
Because McDonald’s is surprisingly open-hearted about the nutritional value of its products, which it makes available open-heartedly in nutritional tables.
And since McDonald’s doesn’t force us to the BigMac or the Kola, unlike the rats in the experiment, we have a free choice.