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Your Brain on FoodHow Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings$
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Gary Wenk

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388541.001.0001

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Introduction Food, Drugs, and You

Introduction Food, Drugs, and You

(p.1) chapter 1 Introduction Food, Drugs, and You
Your Brain on Food

Gary L. Wenk

Oxford University Press

Drugs and foods can affect your brain and therefore your behavior. It is becoming increasingly difficult to define what is a drug (i.e., something that your brain wants or needs in order to function optimally) and what is a food (i.e., something that your body wants or needs in order to function optimally). The contents of your diet will only act upon your brain if in some way they chemically resemble an actual neurotransmitter within the brain, or if they are able to interact with an essential biochemical processes in your brain that influences the production, release, or inactivation of a neurotransmitter. Drugs and the contents of our diet often interact with these processes and alter how you think and feel. For example, the constant consumption of caffeine, nicotine, sugar, or heroin can produce changes within your brain that lead to craving with their absence from the diet. As far as your brain is concerned, everything you consume is a drug.

Keywords:   neurotransmitter, psychoactive, food, drug, evolution, gastrointestinal, neurons, glia, norepinephrine, dopamine

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