Sugar & Oxytocin

The most powerful effects, however, aren’t on our bodies. They’re on our brains. In one study, researchers measured the levels of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that helps us feel satiated, in the brains of rats. When rats that ate a low-sugar diet were given a meal high in sugar, their oxytocin levels didn’t change. But when they were given the high-sugar diet regularly, their brains began to show lower levels of oxytocin activity. In other words, the more we’re bombarded with added sugars, the more chronically unsatisfied we feel, and the more we need to eat. An editorial in JAMA Internal Medicine asked, “Why are we consuming so much sugar despite knowing too much can harm us?” The answer: “The high prevalence of added-sugar consumption…is very likely influenced by and a result of addictive behaviors incited by reward system activation after overeating highly palatable foods.”