If someone were to offer you a plain baked potato or a bag of potato chips, which would you choose? If you chose the plain baked potato, hooray for you! Most people however, would gobble down the entire bag of potato chips, lick their fingers, and look for more. The popular 1960's potato chip advertising slogan, "Betcha can't eat just one" was right; we can't eat just one. Many of us have probably tried, but failed. What compels us to gulp down the entire bag of chips, instead of the baked potato? Dr. Joel Fuhrman has the answer:
"The science on food addiction has now established that highly palatable foods (low-nutrient, high-calorie, intensely sweet, salty, and/or fatty foods - those that make up the majority of the Standard American Diet) produces the exact biochemical effects in the brain that are characteristic of substance abuse."
According to Dr. Fuhrman, "Junk food is ubiquitously available, legal, cheap, and socially accepted; therefore, it becomes the drug of choice for many of us."
What do holidays, birthdays, and family celebrations all have in common? If you answered food, you are correct! In today's culture, celebrating a special occasion without the typical American fare of gooey, weight-promoting desserts would almost be considered un-American.
A fascinating study showed that, "During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours."
Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester, along with a team of scientists, discovered this "washing away" process when they studied the brains of mice that were sleeping. Dr. Nedergaard states that the scientists noted that during sleep, cerebrospinal fluid circulated through the brain and nervous system at a "very rapid pace." They believed this to be partly due to the brain cells of the mice actually shrinking when they fell asleep, making it easier for the cerebrospinal fluid to circulate. She goes on to say, "The process is important because what's getting washed away during sleep are waste proteins that are toxic to brain cells. This could explain why we don't think clearly after a sleepless night and why a prolonged lack of sleep can actually kill an animal or a person."