QUT world-first study seeks to treat sugar addiction like a drug addiction

Posted on April 11, 2016 by Addiction Editor

sugar addiction photoSugar addiction could be treated in the same way we would treat drug addictions, such as nicotine and alcohol, a Queensland University of Technology-led world-first study has found.

QUT School of Clinical Sciences PhD lead researcher Masroor Shariff co-authored a study published by international research journal PLOS ONE that explored how closely linked our addiction to sugar is to drug addiction.

“Essentially, sugar affects the reward pathway in the brain, as do all other drugs of abuse,” Mr Shariff said.

“Previous studies have shown that sugar consumption significantly increases dopamine release into reward centres of brain.”

QUT Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation neuroscientist professor Selena Bartlett, who was part of the team, said long-term consumption of sugar could actually reduce dopamine levels which would lead to higher consumption for the same level of reward.

“The latest World Health Organisation figures tell us 1.9 billion people worldwide are overweight, with 600 million considered obese,” she said.

“Excess sugar consumption has been proven to contribute directly to weight gain.

“It has also been shown to repeatedly elevate dopamine levels which control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres in a way that is similar to many drugs of abuse including tobacco, cocaine and morphine.” To read more click here.

All types of addictions will be discussed at the Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference 2016, themed Alcohol – Other Drugs – Behavioural Addictions, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery will be held on the Gold Coast from the 19 – 20 May 2016. To view the high quality Conference Program CLICK HERE.

Next month, mental health care professionals are coming together for the 3rd Annual Australian and New Zealand Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference; inspiring behavioural change. Click here to read more.

Both conferences are hosted by The Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association who are promoting and encouraging participation from all parts of the sector towards a shared appreciation of what medical, psycho-social and peer-based approaches can offer, through the experiences of service users, clinicians, and researchers alike.

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