July 21, 2013
Alcoholism And Sweet Cravings Linked
It’s been long assumed that diabetes and alcoholism are potential genetic disorders, depending on who you talk to, but Indiana Alcohol Researcher David Kareken has found a link between the two. It’s been a widely accepted generalization that animals and people with alcohol dependencies also have an unusual craving for sugary beverages.
In my opinion, alcohol is one of the nastiest beverages known to man. It’s an actual fact; most people agree that if your taste buds were any stronger, alcohol would burn a clean hole right through your small intestine. For that matter, what the hell do Germans do when Beerfest roles around?
In other news, alcohol dependence is tied with saccharin, a chemical ingredient found inside artificial sweeteners. You might recognize those uninteresting packages of white delight the next time you go for a cup of coffee at your local Starbucks. But, before you go clicking on another page to relieve yourself from my distasteful subject matter, you might actually benefit from me today.
So, listen up.
Odds are, if you’ve developed a sweet tooth for sugary products, then your mind would likely react the same way as it does when you’ve had one too many Jägermeisters . Kareken describes it as the body’s way of giving you primary and secondary awards.
Primary awards for the human body are the same as endorphins released from the body after a great work out. According to Karken, primary awards are great for the orbitofrontal lobe, an inferior lobe that lies just above your eyes. This lobe contributes to the way our body rewards itself after ingesting any form of food or beverage.
To understand, Kareken underwent an experiment to see different patients with different histories of alcoholism. The experiment was simple; he only needed to give patients sugary water on the days that they decided to get hammered the night before. His study proved that the orbitofrontal lobe is especially stimulated when supplied with sugar water and booze.
Among other things, Kareken went on to say that “In addition to ‘activating’ the brain’s gustatory or taste circuits, the sugared water also activated key elements of what neuroscientists consider to be part of the brain’s reward system, including the ventral striatum, amygdala, and parts of the orbitofrontal cortex.”
This also meant that on drinking days, the orbitofrontal lobe was a lot more stimulated when the patient ingested sugared water. The discovery of this link can be instrumental in diagnosing alcoholism and diabetes; but even then, there are still years upon years of research required to truly understand the link between the two.
As far as I can tell, we’re well on our way!
Image Credit: Kamira / Shutterstock