The advantages of a low-carb diet may be getting a lot of publicity these days, but plenty of us still lust after piles of pasta and loads of French-fried potatoes. If you dream about tortellini, fresh sushi rolls, buttermilk biscuits and potato skins, you aren't alone in thinking carbs may be the key to happiness at mealtime.
Eating carbohydrates (more on sugar later) produces a natural, physical high caused by the release of dopamine. The human body likes that happy feeling -- a lot -- and starts craving more of it. Both cocaine use and carb consumption have a similar effect on the brain's pleasure center. Actually, if the idea of eating a chocolate cupcake (mac and cheese or a donut) ever jumped into your head while you were contemplating your taxes or thinking about the dirty laundry, that was your brain bushwhacking your good judgment with a food craving. Can you crash and start going through carb withdrawal? You sure can. Some symptoms include anxiety, headache and irritability.