Well Being

Study Says We React To Sugar Like Cocaine… Discovering What Advertisers Have Known For Years

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So, hold your breath for this one. Researchers found that when you show people pictures of sugary food, they begin to crave that food. So if I had should you all a picture of chocolate cake, a bunch of you would start thinking, “Chocolate cake sounds amazing.” Big news, right?

I could've included a picture of chocolate cake here. Or brownies. I really considered a picture of a brownie with ice cream. That would've been a little mean, I guess. Unless you wanted to try that “dessert for breakfast plan.” Since we're talking health, I thought I would use a picture of a relatively nutritious sweet craving. I happen to think that raspberries are the most cravable food on the planet.

The scientists learned this by scanning the brains of 13 obese women while showing them images of sugary foods. Interestingly, the same outcome occurs when you show drug addicts pictures of things like cocaine or needles. Even if the addicts are watching an anti-drug ad with big X's over the drugs, they still see the picture and experience a highlight in the cravings center of the brain. “We see parallels between substances of abuse, like cocaine, and highly palatable foods,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Kathleen Page. “Some of the same brain regions light up.” So what they're telling you is that chocolate cake is like crack.

More surprising than the drug-cake link is the fact that anyone needed a study to prove this. Have they ever heard of the world of advertising? I'm pretty sure that Don Draper realized that showing pictures of appealing things makes people want them. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention in marketing, but I could've put two and two together there. This is the whole reason that advertising is so important and effective.

I guess one thing is for sure. This study clears up the confusing popularity of television shows like Cake Boss. I've been wondering why people watched that for a while. I guess they just needed their sugar fix.

(Photo: Madlen/Shutterstock)