Why Food Addictions Can be as Strong as Drug Addictions
In a study, extracts of wheat grains and potato tubers were found to contain a series of pharmacologically active benzodiazepines -- compounds displaying a high affinity to the central type benzodiazepine receptor (BZR) in the mammalian brain.
The chemicals are most likely biosynthesized within the plant tissue. This points to a possible source for the previously reported presence of benzodiazepine in the brains and peripheral tissues of several animal species and man. Its effects within the brain may be one reason why intense food addictions can be as strong as drug addictions.
According to the study:
"Further analysis ... lead to the identification of compounds belonging to the classical 5-phenyl-1,4-benzodiazepinones. In wheat grains diazepam, N-desmethyldiazepam, delorazepam, deschloro-diazepam, delormetazepam, lormetazepam and isodiazepam were identified, while potato tuber contained diazepam, N-desmethyldiazepam, delorazepam, lorazepam and delormetazepam."
Research on rats has also shown that food, in particular sugar, may be more addictive than cocaine. In the study, when rats were allowed to choose either sweetened water or cocaine, an astonishing 94 percent of rats chose the sweet water.
Interestingly, separate research revealed that limiting carbs in your diet helps to lessen cravings for carb-heavy and starchy foods.