For researchers at the College of Connecticut, there’s no question about it: Junk food is addictive. Most addictive are heavily processed snacks that have high levels of sugar and fat, like Oreo cookies. In fact, a recent study indicates that Oreo cookies are just as addictive as cocaine or morphine. This is a startling discovery for parents and children alike, as Oreos are one of America’s favorite sandwich cookies. Nevertheless, the discovery underscores and important fact: The American diet is rich in high-fat and high-sugar snacks that wreak havoc on the teeth, gums, and total body health.
More Addictive Than Morphine?
Just how addictive is junk food? To answer that question, researchers at the College of Connecticut assessed the neurological response to such foods, and they compared the findings to the typical neurological response the body has to illicit substances like cocaine and morphine. The results were shocking.
Researchers found that the human brain releases natural opioids and “feel good” chemicals in response to eating processed foods that are high in sugar and fat. Moreover, research suggests that these types of foods activate the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine and morphine (i). Joseph Schroeder, Director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program at College of Connecticut, summarizes the study by saying:
“Our research supports the theory that high-fat/ high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do. It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.”
Feeding the Addiction, Killing Your Health
Addictive junk food and high-sugar snacks represent a real problem for Americans, primarily because they are cheap and accessible. Once hooked, it can be very difficult to get away from these unhealthy foods. Even well intentioned attempts to clean house and go “sugar free” are difficult, as most American foods contain added sugar that similarly stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers. Worst of all, many juices, soft drinks, processed foods, and other snacks contain a super sugar called high fructose corn syrup. In the past 4 years alone, several studies have linked fructose corn syrup with obesity, diabetes, and increased risk of cancer.
Does Your Dentist Know Better?
Many dentists focus only on what’s going on inside patients’ mouths. When a cavity needs filled, patient education often ends with “floss more” or “eat better.” But is it enough?
Holistic Dentistry and Nutrition
Holistic dentistry views oral health and total body wellness as interconnected. When a patient visits a holistic dental practice, he or she receives more than just a simple “drill and fill” approach to oral health care. Patients learn how lifestyle choices can have a profound affect on not only the teeth and gums, but on the entire body as well. Holistic dentists are also aware of how pervasive nutritional challenges—like the over abundance and toxicity of sugar—can lead to cavities, periodontal disease, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. Moreover, holistic dentists practice biological dentistry, an approach to oral health care that is less toxic, more individualized, and more environmentally friendly.
To prevent long-term health issues, holistic dentists provide comprehensive treatment that helps each patient make healthy lifestyle choices. By treating the root cause of the problem, holistic dental professionals help patients proactively protect themselves from enamel degradation, hidden caries, cavities, gum infection, and other major illnesses.
Holistic Dentistry: Focusing On All Aspects of Wellness
At Assure A Smile, we strive to improve patient experience by offering a holistic approach that promotes both oral health and total body wellness. Our team of hygienists and dental experts knows how to create healthy teeth and gums for life through better nutrition and comprehensive patient-focused care.
To experience holistic dentistry firsthand, contact Assure A Smile at 305-274-0047.