Rats do not equal humans


The team of scientists came to their conclusion after reviewing previous studies on sugar addiction, and finding some red flags. A big one was that most of these studies looked at rodents instead of humans. Even if rats love pizza as much as people, the similarities in brain function aren’t strong enough to base our responses to sugar on theirs. They’re a good starting point, being mammals and all, but yeah: rats do not equal humans…

Eating sugar releases feel-good dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with reward in the brain. Drug use is also associated with a dopamine hit, but the scientists say that the way your brain responds to drugs like heroin and cocaine is different from how it responds to sugar. When the animals had sugar, their dopamine increased quickly, but soon returned to baseline, and stayed consistent even as they consumed more sugar. But in studies where the rodents were trained to give themselves cocaine, “the surge [of dopamine] does not return to baseline, but further increases after lever pressing and cocaine delivery.” Basically, you can reset yourself after a sugar high, whereas cocaine makes you want more and more and more…


Sugar addiction: the state of the science

European Journal of Nutrition (First Online: 02 July 2016)

We find little evidence to support sugar addiction in humans, and findings from the animal literature suggest that addiction-like behaviours, such as bingeing, occur only in the context of intermittent access to sugar. These behaviours likely arise from intermittent access to sweet tasting or highly palatable foods, not the neurochemical effects of sugar.

5 thoughts on “Rats do not equal humans

  1. Wasn’t the study done by offering the rats sugar water and cocaine water simultaneously? Of course they chose the sugar water. Cocaine is bitter and disgusting, like chewing aspirin. So I’ve heard.

    Seeking sweets is hardwired into our brains, since our bodies run primarily on glucose (when not in fasting state), and also fat, since that’s the secondary fueling system. Big food manufacturers capitalize off of this and dump obscene amounts of sugar into foods, which desensitizes the taste buds to naturally sweet things like fruit, so if we want something sweet, a person is more inclined to reach for a piece of cake rather than a bowl of melon.

    As much as I love sugar, salt is my jam. I can’t get enough of it.

    Rats are more human than humans. Most rats have empathy, whereas most humans are dicks. Rats are also soft and cuddly, and they chatter their teeth when they’re happy. Rats>human. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think there is such a thing as food addiction, but I think this study is saying that sugar — by itself — is not addictive. Kinda like weed is not really addictive, at least for like 98% of us. Or like how CBD (without THC) is not addictive at all. And although this study is saying that there is no proof, that doesn’t mean that proof can’t be found in the future.

      The thing is, it seems like there’s a lot of “scientific evidence” that’s based on rodent studies. There’s a lot of scientific evidence that’s really not evidence at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True. You might as well face it, you’re addicted to love. 😄

        Rats are similar to humans physiologically, but not identical. There’s also a difference between in vitro vs. in vivo studies because it’s virtually impossible to emulate a living organism in a lab setting. There are so many factors that come into play. This is the reason I didn’t pay much attention to my allergy test results. I think scientists enjoy getting paid to play. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. i always knew this was the case, never believing it to be true, and indeed i never particularly worried about giving my children sugar in terms of behavior. of course i monitored it due to tooth decay and nutrition, however. and my children never became ‘hyper active’ from sugar either (not any more than they already were, lol).

    Liked by 1 person

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