Ray Peat (high Sugar) Diet Works Only Temporarily (?)


Apr 8, 2020
It is a hard thing to assert but being aware of this connection might come in handy when dealing with added sugar. This article’s purpose is to highlight a surprising, yet pertinent side effect of fructose. Recent studies have shown that sugar (its component fructose to be exact) releases a similar amount of dopamine (the “happy hormone”) as other addictive substances do, leading eventually to abuse and addiction.
Far too many times people struggling with weight related issues are utterly stigmatized. They are believed to be lazy, uncaring or lacking will power. But what if there was something more to it than psychical structure? Studies have proven that when it comes to food the brain chemistry of obese people is different from normal ones. (2)
In this case, will power has very little to do with over-eating whereas biochemical impulses are considered to be at fault (according to Dr. Robert H. Lustig and Dr. Elissa S. Epel in TV series The Skinny on Obesity)

The biochemical impulse Dr.Robert H. Lustig discusses in the above episode refers to how the human body reacts to a certain stimulus and how that consequently shapes our behavior. Although a long topic to debate upon, we will briefly present the mechanism induced by fructose, its effect on obesity and everyday life.
Discussing addiction: The brain and its reward system

“Any stimulus, event, activity or situation that appeals to us in order to achieve/ try is by definition called a reward.” (3) There is a region in our brain, called the reward center that is in charge of the learning process (for instance positive verbal or material reinforcement) (4, 5), enhancing our incentives (according to our likes, desires, cravings etc.) and increasing pleasure (the Hedonistic pleasures). (6) Dopamine is considered to be the neurotransmitter which helps us activate this brain region. In fact, dopamine is also called the „happy hormonehappy ”. (1)
According to Sigmund Freud’s “pleasure principle”, we innately seek pleasure and avoid pain, by turning to stimuli (new ones) that we assume to have this ability or that have already proven to be efficient in this manner. (7)
Normally, the reward system works to our benefit and is a great ally in strengthening our useful behaviors as well as enjoying a life of pleasure. But what happens when this reward system is abused? In this case, compulsively using stimuli to induce pleasure, in spite of the side effects this action may imply is called addiction. Addiction alters brain structure (8) and dopamine secretion. By excessively using certain stimuli, the body develops a reaction called tolerance, which means it will need a greater usage of that stimulus in order to obtain the same effect. (9) The symptom of withdrawal is something commonly present once the stimuli usage ends.
Fructose, possibly an addictive stimulus

Recent research has revealed that fructose, very much like alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, may create addictive behaviors as it releases a great amount of dopamine. (10) It is highly important to mention that certain people are more prone to developing this kind of addiction, whereas for others, using food as comfort is merely an option that can materialize under extreme stress.
Now, let’s assume we have some dessert. Normally, the first bite boosts the dopamine level and, at the same time, the satiety hormone, leptin starts sending messages to the brain in order to decrease the need for further eating. When it comes to obese people, this hormone is affected by fructose and fails to fulfill its mission, therefore they keep on eating. (11) At the same time, the body becomes tolerant and this increases the urge to consume in order to achieve the same amount of dopamine a normal person would by eating a smaller portion.
Our brain is controlling our eating habits. If you find yourself having a second dessert, it might be useful to acknowledge that this is just a classical conditioning, the result of a faulty association between something sweet to eat and pleasure. The downside in this case is that increasing the incentive (food in this case), does not lead to more pleasure. We constantly crave that stimulus but a bigger portion will fail in providing us the initial pleasure.
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