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The Milkshake Experiment


Blog posts - milkshakes
Photo by: Image via Thinkstock

Don’t you love it when a study surfaces that suggests there are other contributing factors to our chocolate-covered pretzels addiction than just a lack of willpower?

A new study published last month suggests sugary foods, white bread and other processed carbs influence the parts of our brain that are responsible for hunger, cravings and reward.

Enter the Milkshake Experiment

Lactose intolerant friends relax yourselves the study’s already been done. We just want to share the results with you.

The conductors of said milkshake experiment, enlisted 12 obese men and fed them two different vanilla milkshakes on two separate occasions. The participants couldn’t tell the difference; the shakes looked and tasted identical and contained the same amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates and protein except one shake was made with high-fructose corn syrup (which is 50 per cent fructose, roughly the same as regular table sugar) So what did this experiment show?

As expected the sugary shake saw blood sugar levels sky rocket immediately. What was particularly interesting, though, was that several hours later blood sugar levels plummeted and there was greater activation in parts of the brain that regulate cravings, reward and addictive behaviours. The differences in blood flow to these regions of the brain were notably substantial between the two different shakes.

There are two major things that we want you to take from this (and it’s not to conduct your own milkshake experiment).

  1. Finally there is research that supports the argument that sugar – and sugar alone – causes cravings. It might sound pretty obvious, but its only now that we have some solid proof.
  2. Limiting sugar is the best way to control cravings. Also an obvious statement, but what is great about this study is that it assures us that desperately seeking out sugary foods is a neurological reaction to the amount of sugar we consume, not a lack of willpower.

So now that you’re feeling all empowered let us offer you a helping hand.

We’ve just announced the launch of our new online I Quit Sugar Program you can check it our here.

Otherwise you can check out our I Quit Sugar eBook and print book here.

Please be respectful of other participants in the conversation. We'd love you to keep your comments respectful, friendly and relevant. Differences of opinion are welcome, but trolling and abuse of other commentators and the IQS editorial team is not and will result in blacklisting.

  • Cherie

    Hi Sarah,
    i have your IQS book and love it. I am cutting back quite a bit, the only problem I have is I love my freshly squeezed carrot and apple juice, and dried fruit, which is usually a few dried apricots and small handful of sultanas daily. I feel I am doomed to failure…I’m not sure I can go cold turkey. Will cutting back and including these few things be a problem for me in the long term?

    • IQS_Team

      Hey Sarah,
      Have you tried following the program week by week? If you follow the program the way it was designed, then I think you’ll be surprised how easy it will be for you to let go of your favourite sweet treats. We don’t suggest going cold turkey, instead we cut the sugar out gradually and then gradually reintroduce bits of it back in. Why don’t you have a think about doing the online program? It gives you the extra support you need so that nobody is doomed for failure. Good Luck!

    • http://onemanbandaccounting.co.uk/ Rosie Slosek @1ManBandAccts

      I’m not going cold turkey or may never. I’m gradually over months getting my body used to 5-15g fructose a day and noticing what happens when I have a lot more than that. I’d reduce the juice first as it’s a big rollercoaster for your body. Try parsnip and apple first as it’s sweet but not as sweet.

    • http://iquitsugar.com/ Sarah Wilson

      Cherie, I really do suggest going cold turkey. You will never know if you CAN live without your dried apricots if not. To be honest, dried fruit and apple juice would be THE TWO foods I nominate as the worst sugar offenders and certainly foods not to return to once you introduce fruit etc back in later. Seriously, you might as well eat a block of chocolate each day instead. Sorry…!

    • MJ

      Hi Cherie, 10 months too late maybe, but I too was a dried fruit ‘connoisseur’. Dried apricots were my biggest vice but I have not missed them. I found eating nuts and cheese curbed the cravings I used to fill with dried fruit. And just not having them in the house helped. Hope you managed to make peace with the little ‘dried ears’!

  • Kathleen

    I am on week 4 of the program (starting my second week sugar free)! My skin is starting to clear up already, but I have severe dry mouth that has developed over the last week. I’m constantly thirsty and feel desperate for water. I’m drinking plenty to try and satiate my thirst, but I’m wondering is this a side effect of the sugar detox? Is it normal? I typically eat a large amount of fruit per day (5-6 servings easily) so I’m thinking my body is missing the added water from all the fruit…? I don’t know. Thanks for any advice!

    • http://iquitsugar.com/ Sarah Wilson

      Ah yes!! This is VERY common. I don’t think it’s from the missing fruit. Many people get this…and from looking into it over the past three years, it certainly seems to be part of the detox process. Extra water is required to flush stuff out. Keep drinking more water and try drinking it warm…your body will process it better. Good luck!

  • Ibujen

    Hi Sarah, I bought your book and I am reading it regularly . . we are almost vego so no meat except fish and eat lots of pulses and a little rice.pasta , baked veges, only locally made sour dough bread. Red wine 3 or 4 a week .don’t really eat that much sugar no processed foods etc.have totally given up cereal except natural muesli , fruit , cakes, chocolate for the last 2 weeks . especially the everynight after dinner deserts,chocolates etc.I have a Goiter and iridoligist said hashimotos and I am taking herbal remedy for same. I have a good walk,walk run every afternoon and work as a nurse. I am up to week 4 and have been thirsty and two days of shocking headaches in wk 3 and some kidney pain for a day ? also but no great changes in weight ( i am 67 kgs 162 cms tall heaviest ive ever been) and still quite bloated, my skin has broken out. And my long term chronic constipation still the same. I am 49 years old also on herbs for hot flushes which has helped. I guess I thought I would have noticed more change at this stage. Any ideas ? I intend to persevere , thanks for your help..

    • IQS_Team

      Hey hang in there, most people don’t see weight changes until the 6th or 7th week some people it takes a little longer. In terms of headaches and the like we would encourage you to see a medical professional and discuss it with them. Good luck!

  • Ibujen

    Thanks team for the encouragement. Just wanted to ask does evaporated milk like carnation full fat have any bad sugars as I have been using a small amount in coffee . I thought maybe this is where I am going wrong….don’t want to give up the plan and still hopeful that I can lose this bloating that is plaguing me …but not eating any fruit (missing this ) . Or sweets after dinner which was a regular for me. And actually put on weight ! Can’t work out what’s going on ? . I have found in Coles a chocolate with stevia only as sweetener…is this OK as it tastes so sweet but only had it once…thanks for your support ..

    • IQS_Team

      Evaporated milk has had 60% of the water content removed from it, which means it has had to go through some sort of processing. It also appear to have 12.3g sugar per 100ml compared to regular full fat milk which has 4.7g/100ml. I would definitely be sticking to regular milk if I was you. In terms of weight gain its important to be mindful of how much you’re snacking and remember that the point of eating good fats and protein is so you eat less not more. If you’re not up to Week 6 of the program I would refrain from the stevia sweetened chocolate until you feel your body is able to calmly decide whether or not it needs a piece.

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