Cocaine Addiction Information
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junk foodWhen you think of addiction, the first thought that may come to mind is a junkie getting high in some alley. Addiction is really a widespread topic that covers many different types of drugs, activities, thought processes and even foods. People can be addicted to video games, addicted to TV or addicted to prescription medication just like the junkies in the alley. Obviously, being addicted to drugs is worse and more harmful than being addicted to TV, but the fact that you aren’t able to control your actions is the same.

What are you addicted to? What if you didn’t even know you were addicted to something? Recent research into foods and drinks have found that processed foods and sugary items might have a similar addicting effect as that of many abused drugs.

The Land of Plenty

Obesity is not a new topic or problem in society. One third of all adults in the U.S. are obese while 17% of kids are obese. Obesity rates are climbing across the world as well. Obesity can shorten life-spans from 2-10 years depending on the severity and the estimated cost of treating illnesses related to obesity in 2008 was $147 billion.

More than Just Unhealthy

While obesity has been front page news for a long time, the idea that foods could be addictive is a fairly new idea. Many people say, “Oh, I’m just addicted to chips…” or things of that sort, but this statement isn’t far off from reality. Dozens of research papers have been published over the past few years on the subject of food addiction. What’s being found is that consuming large amounts of processed, fatty or sugary foods without fiber or nutrients is changing how the brain works (with fatty foods referring to unhealthy fats as opposed to good fats like avocados).

Much like an addict building a tolerance to a drug, the brain gets accustomed to the stimulation provided by sugary, processed or fatty foods. In order to get the same blood-sugar spike of a glass of soda, one might need to eat a candy bar and a soda to get the same spike if they continually eat sugar and processed food. In order to get the same fulfillment, the body is going to cry out for more sugar. This is the same process that drug addicts go through.

The Straight Dop(amine)

Researches looking into the exact reason behind food addiction scanned brains to measure the chemical activity in 10 obese people. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that signals reward or pleasure. It’s a chemical that drugs like cocaine use to give users a high. It’s been found that drug abusers will have lowered levels of dopamine receptors which facilitates the need for more drugs. This is how tolerances are built. The 10 obese people that were studied had lowered dopamine receptors, just like drug addicts.

Lab tests on rats have shows similarities between food addicts and drug addicts as well. In fact, rats were actually more inclined to have sweetened water than hits of cocaine.

Cocaine or Candy?

Now this data shouldn’t be taken to lessen the absolutely horrible effects cocaine has on your body. Cocaine is an upper and gets its high from messing with the bodies circulation levels. It increases heart rate, temperature and blood pressure while over-stimulating the body. Thus cocaine can lead to damaged organs like the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and lungs. It can cause heart attacks and sexual problems as well as paranoia, panic and hallucinations. Candy has bad effects on the body as well, but when compared to the effects cocaine has on the body, there’s no comparison. But food addiction is a real problem. Processed foods are health hazards that have addictions similar to some of the worst possible drugs.

Reference: – Fatty Foods Addictive as Cocaine in Growing Body of Science –