How does food addiction affect the brain?
High-glycemic foods cause the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and endorphins—natural opiates that make us ‘feel good’.
These neurotransmitters are also released with the use of nicotine, alcohol, cocaine and heroin. Science shows that continued overconsumption of sweeteners and highly processed foods can eventually change our brain chemistry and perpetuate cravings, which can lead to overeating.
When we are addicted to anything, our bodies and brains can become programmed to use that substance to temporarily eliminate anxiety, irritability, depression, excitability and other uncomfortable feelings. The longer we use the substance, the more likely it is that we will need an increased amount to create the same desired mood-altering effect. This development is commonly known as ‘tolerance’.