The Exploitation of Your Pleasure Center

brain nucleus accumbens

Did you know that you have a pleasure center in your brain? It’s called the nucleus accumbens.


Without it you wouldn’t have the will to live.


But throughout the ages profiteers have exploited that pleasure center! Who are the first that come to mind – of course, the drug pushers! That’s a blatant obvious example.


But other profiteers exploit that pleasure center in an equally destructive manner, but it’s more insidious and deceptive. We don’t realize we’re being exploited. Also, the destruction to our bodies occurs so slowly that we don’t recognize the cause.


You think you’re not being exploited, think again.


The Big Sugar, Big Food industry knows all about that pleasure center and they use their research to hook you on eating their “food-like” but health destroying products!


They know that sugar, salt and fat in just the right amounts in their “I’m-going-to fool-you-food-like-disease-promoting” products will send you scrambling for more of that product to eat. They have refined this addicting process to such a science that they know exactly how much sugar to add to spark your addiction. They call it the “bliss point”.


Remember that commercial that said, “I bet you can’t eat just one.” It was humorous, but at the same time it revealed the dark side of commercial food-like production. Basically it was saying, “We’re going to get you hooked.”


The food industry knows that fat can be just as addictive as sugar because of the pleasurable “mouth-feel”. Think of the warm, gooey taste of cheese or fried chicken. Fat stimulates that same pleasure center in your brain as sugar does.


Salt serves the fake-food industry well too adding a flavor burst, food preservation and masking the yucky flavors of some of the other food additives.


But they get even craftier. As pressure mounts indicting the fake food industry for the increase in obesity, they have changed their tactics a bit by creating chemical flavors that spark the addiction center too without adding so many empty calories. You won’t know that these chemical flavor additives are in the fake food that you buy because they only have to identify them on the label as “artificial and/or natural flavors”. Do we know how they affect the human body in the long term? No!


And there’s still more deception! Big Food knows that certain tastes will suppress your brain’s desire to eat more. So they have perfected the “craveability” factor by creating just the right complexity of formulation to bypass the satiety center. This satisfaction center would normally tell you that you have eaten enough and you stop eating. But with this crafty, deceptive bypass you keep you coming back for more.


Are you getting angry yet?


Medical research confirms the addictive nature of sweets. Using functional MRI studies of the brain researchers observed the effects of a meal that rapidly raised the blood sugar. The men’s blood sugar levels rapidly spiked and then crashed. This crash lit up the nucleus accumbens, your pleasure center.


Note that it’s the blood sugar crash that stimulates the nucleus accumbens. This crash initiates the desire to eat more and especially to eat more refined sugar to bring the blood sugar back up to safe levels. Obviously this can be a protective mechanism to preserve the brain and other vital organs.


But we were never created to eat so much refined sugar. To do so stimulates the nucleus accumbens way too much and creates addiction!


Sugar is more addictive than cocaine! In rat studies the rats with access only to cocaine quickly switched their preference to sugar when they had both to choose from.


Oreos are more addictive than cocaine.


But sugar is found in more products than just the obvious cookies, cakes, doughnuts, Twinkies, etc. Check marinara and spaghetti sauce labels. Yep, some Prego sauces contain 2 teaspoons of sugar per ½ cup serving. How about yogurt? In 1999 General Mills created Yoplait that contains 100% more sugar per serving than its Lucky Charms cereal. A wholesome food like yogurt turned into a dessert and an addiction.


So how do we combat this massive deception and calculated plan to addict us to health-damaging, disease-promoting fake food?


Let’s find out in the next article…


Previous article:

The Sweet Deception Uncovered

More information: Book by Michael Moss Salt Sugar Fat


Good articles:

Some references for this information:

Psych Central June 29, 2013

 Science Daily June 26, 2013

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition September 2013 [Epub ahead of print] June 26, 2013

New York Times February 20, 2013

Time magazine March 1, 2013

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012 Feb 14.

American Diabetes Association March 6, 2013

New York Times February 20, 2013

Huffington Post March 3, 2013

CNN Health March 6, 2013

Time magazine March 1, 2013

PloS One 2(8): e698

The Atlantic March 7, 2013

BMC Medicine 2013, 11:63

PLoS ONE 4(11): e7940