Category Archives: High Glycemic Load Diet

Is junk food consumption an actual addiction?

There are so many processed food products available today that understands how difficult it is for many consumers to avoid them. Sometimes even products we don’t think of as processed prove to be when we take a look at their ingredient lists. Junk food can be found in our fast food establishments and our grocery stores and many food retailers in between. The term is no longer appropriate for one or two food categories, but can be applied to many. As the obesity epidemic becomes more of a pressing problem each day, we have been left to wonder if the widespread proliferation of processed foods has actually turned into an addiction for some consumers.

A new study out of Boston Children’s Hospital has found that the consumption of highly processed carbohydrates can, in fact, cause excess hunger and stimulate the brain regions that are involved in reward and cravings. It was noted that in addition to reward and craving, this is the region of the brain that is also linked with substance abuse and dependence. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on June 26, 2013, investigates how food intake is regulated by dopamine-containing pleasure centers of the brain.

The research suggests that limiting these “high-glycemic index” foods could help the obese population avoid overeating.

In order to conduct the study, the researchers set out to measure blood glucose levels and hunger as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe brain activity during the four hours following a meal. This is the time period that influences eating behavior during the next meal.

Twelve overweight or obese men consumed test meals designed as two different milkshakes with the same calories, taste and sweetness. Essentially both were the same with the only difference being that one included high-glycemic index carbohydrates and the other contained low-glycemic index carbohydrates.

After participants consumed the high-glycemic index milkshake, they experienced an initial surge in blood sugar levels, followed by sharp crash four hours later. This was caused by a decrease in blood glucose that is associated with excessive hunger as well as the intense activation of the brain region involved in addictive behaviors. The idea that high-glycemic index foods are addictive is certainly controversial and further study is necessary in order to arrive at a definitive conclusion.

In the meantime, thinks we should all familiarize ourselves with high-glycemic index foods even more thoroughly. Highly processed carbohydrates include white bread (burger buns at fast food restaurants, French toast sticks from a box or fast food, plain bagels), white potatoes and white potato products (including french fries, potato chips, instant mashed potatoes or frozen potatoes), donuts, onion rings, instant oatmeal, boxed macaroni and cheese, soda … the list goes on. When we eat these processed products, our brain tells us to eat more. Whether or not they can be labeled “addictive” remains to be seen, but regardless of the label, consuming processed foods isn’t a healthy habit. Our brains seem to get that message loud and clear.

New evidence linking acne to diet understands the problems acne causes for so many in our population. Most common in the teenage years, but reaching well into adulthood and middle age, so many people are affected by this condition which has negative consequences for self esteem and socialization.

A new study recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has shown evidence of a link between diet and acne, most specifically from high glycemic load diets and dairy products. In addition, it illustrates that nutrition therapy can play a major role in the treatment of acne.

Over 17 million people in the United States suffer from acne. It influences their quality of life and can be a cause of anxiety and depression. Since the 1800s, research linked diet to acne. Most especially, the consumption of chocolate, sugar and fats were associated with the skin condition. By the 1960s new studies began to separate diet from the condition. Recently, though, dermatologists and registered dieticians have begun to explore the relationship between diet and acne and have become interested in how medical nutritional therapy might change the treatment of acne.

The new study comes out of the New York Medical College and New York University’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health. The researchers conducted a literature review to look at evidence for the diet/acne relationship.

Using information from studies conducted between 1960 and 2012, they compiled data for various study characteristics that included design, participants, results and conclusions, to name a few. After this review, it was concluded that a high glycemic index diet as well as frequent dairy consumption are the strongest factors in the link between diet and acne. They were careful to note that the research reviewed did not illustrate that diet is a cause of acne, but that it may well influence or aggravate the condition.

The researchers are recommending that dermatologists and dieticians work together to design and conduct further research based on their findings. They are interested in discovering how these dietary findings are related to acne and want to learn how the development of dietary interventions may change the way acne is treated. appreciates every possibility for the treatment of health concerns through diet. It’s always important to learn and understand how the foods we consume affect our health and how adjustments to our diet can lessen the need for powerful medications, leading to more natural solutions for many different conditions.

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