A group of scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark recently looked for a relationship between sugar and the brain’s reward system in experiments on pigs,media reported. The reason pigs were chosen for choosing more traditional animal models, such as rodents, was that the brains of pigs were more complex than rodents, which could rotate like humans and be large enough to scan their images through human brain scanners.
Study author Michael Winterdahl said: “The current study of mini pigs introduces a well-controlled setting, the only variable being the presence of sugar in the diet. “
The researchers were shown to have been fed two litres of sugar water a day in seven pigs for a 12-day experiment. In addition, the scientists imaged their brains after the first and 12 days of the sugary water to see if any changes occurred.
Winterdahl said that 12 days after pigs consume sugar, significant changes were seen in the dopamine system and opioid system in the pig’s brain, “in fact, the opiate system, the chemicals associated with happiness and pleasure in the brain, were activated after the first intake.” “
This echoes previous studies of neurotransmitters such as sugar intake and dopamine. The effects of sugar on brain circuits have long been compared to the effects of an addictive drug, and now scientists have come to a similar conclusion in a new analysis of the pig brain.
“As we’ve seen in pigs, if sugar can change the brain’s reward system after 12 days, you can imagine that natural stimuli such as learning or socializing are pushed backstage and replaced by sugar and/or other ‘artificial’ stimuli,” Winterdahl said. “