Thursday, March 29, 2012

Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward

Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward
Magalie Lenoir,# Fuschia Serre,# Lauriane Cantin, and Serge H. Ahmed*

Our findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals. We speculate that the addictive potential of intense sweetness results from an inborn hypersensitivity to sweet tastants. In most mammals, including rats and humans, sweet receptors evolved in ancestral environments poor in sugars and are thus not adapted to high concentrations of sweet tastants. The supranormal stimulation of these receptors by sugar-rich diets, such as those now widely available in modern societies, would generate a supranormal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

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