Why Sugar is a Drug and How to Quit It

She is a neuroscience researcher who has published over 100 peer-reviewed scholarly articles. Yes, I said 100. She’s an associate professor of neuroscience at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. And she’s bringing her research on sugar and the brain in a new book called Sugarless, out in January.

I loved getting the opportunity to have Dr. Nicole Avena on the podcast. We bust up some myths on what sugar actually does to the brain in this episode. Yes, changes are happening to your brain when you overconsume sweetened beverages and treats. It’s not fun to hear, but I know I needed the reminder.

Bio: Dr. Nicole Avena is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and a Visiting Professor of Health Psychology at Princeton University. She graduated from Princeton University with her PhD in Neuroscience and Psychology, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at Rockefeller University in NYC. She is a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction, with a special focus on nutrition during early life and pregnancy, and women’s health. Her research achievements have been honored by awards from several groups including the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In addition to over 100 peer-reviewed scholarly publications, Dr. Avena has written several books, including What to Eat When You’re Pregnant, What to Feed Your Baby and Toddler and What to Eat When You Want to Get Pregnant. She has the #2 most watched TED-ED Health talk, How Sugar Affects Your Brain, with over 13 million views and counting.

Download this episode here, or find wherever you get podcasts.

Key Topics:

  • Why is sugar bad for you?
  • How sugar affects a developing brain
  • The addictive properties and the way the brain adapts to more and more
  • Withdrawal symptoms of quitting sugar
  • What the science says about the argument that sugar isn’t addictive
  • Practical ways to reduce sugar intake
  • Artificial sweeteners and the affect on the brain
  • How to read labels for hidden sugar
  • How to have a healthier relationship with sugar

Learn more about Dr. Nicole and get her new book, Sugarless, on DrNicoleavena.com. Follow her on Instagram @drnicoleavena

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