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Brains of Overweight People are Like Addicts

Last night, I watched about 10 minutes towards the end of a program titled "Half Ton Man" on The Learning Channel. Quite a sad program. But I caught a little snippet that I thought was interesting. A doctor was discussing brain scans of drug addicts, alcoholics, and obese people. In each brain, the level of dopamine receptors was reduced when compared to the average brain. Thus, overweight people were driven to eat more to get the pleasant sensations that they were seeking. (Dopamine gives you feelings of pleasantness and calm.)

The most interesting point that the researcher made was that overeating actually reduces the number of dopamine receptors in the brain, creating a vicious cycle. Exercise, in contrast, increases the number of dopamine receptors.


Thu. Jun 14, 6:49am

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For morbid obesity yes, for the average overweight American no.

The average overweight person might have issues related to food but I disagree that it is an addiction.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 9:41 AM

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I agree that food can be an addiction. Just try to cut out added sugars for a week. Then you'll realize how addicted you were to them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 10:22 AM

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I actually saw another program (not sure which one) that talked about how people who had gastric bypass would "transfer" their addiction to foods to other addictions (shopping, gambling, alcoholism.) They said that for some people, it's not even about the eating, it's about the addictive behavior-- and if the mind has not been changed after the gastric bypass, the people may find other ways to become addicts...

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 11:02 AM

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10:22 - I agree with you ! the first time I quit sugar , I swear I was on a rollercoaster the first few weeks..the first week I was so on edge..I told friends that I felt like a drug addict going through withdrawal..it was crazy..I was on edge and restless and just kept on thinking of wanting something sweet..so, yes that made me a big believer in how much sugar has a huge impact on a person..

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 11:19 AM

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10:22 and 11:19 I agree to a certain extent that sugar can be addictive, but I don't think it is limited to overweight people, you can be addicted to sugar and have a very active lifestyle and not be obese, but that addiction is still there and if you remove the "drug" that person will exihibit the same sypmtoms as their more overweight cousins

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 1:27 PM

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I think a lot of people are going to take the "addiction" thing too far, much like the "genetic" theory and hypothyrodism (i think, that's what it's called). Quite a few heavy people in the United States are going to take this as an excuse to why they are heavy as they order another biggie meal.

I do agree with the theory, especially since it would make sense on the opposite side (I run, and "runner's high" is an amazing truth..I usually have MORE energy after running). I just think this might get blown out of proportion.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 3:40 PM

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1;27 here - you said it best 3:40 and that was the point I was trying to make.

I have read comments that people just one day realize that they are overweight, it doesn't happen overnight. You are in control of your body, and as you said people will be using this as an excuse for their weight issue.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 4:25 PM

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I definately think that its an addiction. Since being on PT...I can see how i am breaking the addiction and it was and still is very hard. An alcohol addict once told me that you trade one addiction for another.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 10:48 PM

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I completely think food is an addiction for some people and I believe that I am a food addict. Does that mean it's an excuse? No. It is still within my control, just like any other addiction but it makes it harder to stop. For me weight loss needs to become the new addiction that replaces food.

Thursday, June 14, 2007, 11:38 PM

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Thats right 11:38!! We can do it!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007, 12:28 PM

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