In this the fourth episode of the series, Dr. Lustig looks at sugar’s effects on brain chemistry, specifically, how our reward system (mediated by dopamine in the nucleus accumbens) is changed in response to chronic overconsumption of sugar.
Specifically, Lustig asserts that sugar downregulates the same dopamine system in the nucleus accumbens (reward center of the brain) that drugs like cocaine do. In this sense, an addiction marked by domamine resistence in the pleasure center is an additional driver of obesity in addition to the leptin and insulin resistence he described in previous videos. All, of course, are the result of sugar consumption
In the third installment of Dr. Robert Lustig’s, The Skinny On Obesity series, Dr. Lustig covers how our consumption of carbohydrate rich diets influence the roles of insulin and leptin hormones in our bodies, and how these contribute to obesity.
This directly addresses the misleading (and dangerous) notion that “a calorie is a calorie.” It turns (and this is no surprise to anyone who pays attention to nutrition research, really) out that different types of calories trigger different responses in the body’s hormonal response.
The second in Robert Lustig’s series, The Skinny on Obesity is available. In this episode, Dr. Lustig covers the increasing prevalence of sugar in the American diet and the ensuing crises in diabetes, obesity, and the host of other problems associated with metabolic disorder/syndrome x.