Build a lesson around any TED-Ed Original, TED Talk or YouTube video
Create a Lesson

How sugar affects the brain - Nicole Avena

  • 6,693,656
    Views

  • 96,504
    Questions Answered


Let’s Begin…

When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine -- an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Nicole Avena
  • Director Chris Boyle
  • Composer Michael Dow
  • Narrator Michelle Snow

Share

Additional Resources for you to Explore
Dr. Avena’s website has links to new research and articles about the effects of sugar on the brain and behavior, and how this can influence body weight.
Want to learn more about the adverse effects of sugar? Read Food Junkie, Dr. Avena’s blog on Psychology Today. Here is one post that is particularly relevant:
Sugar Cravings: How sugar cravings sabotage your health, hormone balance & weight loss, by Dr. Nicole Avena and Dr. Sara Gottfried.
Watch this video from The National on how food manufactures have tweaked products to increase the addictive nature of processed foods.
For an in-depth presentation on the research surrounding sugar overconsumption, watch Dr. Nicole Avena speak at the Obesity Action Coalition on current data and how too much sugar can be particularly detrimental to our society as a whole.
Click this link to a short video and article by Everyday Health on a study showing how milkshakes high in carbohydrates enhances the brain reward system and increases eating.
Learn more specific information by checking out Natural Reward Pathways Exist in the Brain. Be sure to go through “The Reward Pathway Reinforces Behavior” tutorial on this page to see how foods high in sugar affect the reward pathways.
Teded square logo
TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY
[Please note: if you don't want to receive email notifications about this lesson, log in and then visit http://ed.ted.com/u/settings to update your email settings]
01/07/2014 • 
 373 Responses
 / 373 Updates

Customize This Lesson

Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Nicole Avena
  • Director Chris Boyle
  • Composer Michael Dow
  • Narrator Michelle Snow

Share

Log In to Take or Create a Lesson

Log In to participate

Please Log In or Register to Apply

Please Log in to Access Leader Resources

If you have already logged into ted.com click Log In to verify your authentication. Click Register if you need to create a free TED-Ed account.
Log In    Register

Enter your name

Your name and responses will be shared with TED Ed.

To track your work across TED-Ed over time, Register or Login instead.