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Brain Study Done on Beer


I love it when you fire up a computer or smart phone and something jumps at you like a barking dog through a chain link fence.  I clicked on this story, just minutes ago (after cracking one open) and there it was.  The headline that said,

The taste of beer, without its alcoholic effects, may be enough to trigger the release of the pleasure chemical dopamine in the brain.

I love studies like this, you know, the ones that get you thinking.  They seem to be popping up every day.  In fact the other day there was another study that said if you eat or drink anything sweet, it releases a similar dopamine and makes you want more of that product.

I’m intrigued though by the study.  Look at these details from a story in Huffington Post.

Researchers gave a group of men tiny tastes of beer, and as the men sipped the beer, the researchers scanned the men’s brains. After a taste of beer, the men’s brains showed a notable release of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with the pleasurable experience of consuming alcohol and other drugs. The effect was even greater among men who had a family history of alcoholism.

I don’t want to sound like I’m trivializing the study here in any way, shape or form.  In fact, I have a ‘crazy little theory’ myself.  You will want to hang on here because this one sounds a little crazy.  I happen to think it’s true.  I happen to think that the brain, can not differentiate between an actual taste and the actual food or drink.  If you have a pseudo sweet product, whether it’s food or drink, I think the brain can’t tell the difference if it’s real or not.  Like Diet Coke and regular Coke?  The Diet Coke is said to release the same chemical as the regular Coke.  Or sugarless gum.  My guess is those same triggers fire dopamine signals, just the same as regular gum.

What really intrigues me, is the reference to alcoholism.  I’m no scientist, but I think that someday soon, you’ll be hearing more about the carbohydrate equation in the both of these studies.  I believe that carbohydrates are the real trigger.  Think of it.  Nothing fires up that feel good grove like a plate of potatoes.  Or a handful of peanut M&M’s  Or an ice cold Budweiser.  All of them have, you guessed it, carbohydrates.  And when you include the trigger, that is dopamine, things get really tricky, real fast!

Keep your eyes open for further stories.  I believe they will some day be all intertwined and related.  Carbohydrates?  Alcohol?  Dopamine?  They are all words that I’ll be keeping an eye open for.



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