This Is Your Brain On Sugar (VIDEO)

01/08/2014 01:45 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Being able to make complex dietary choices is an incredibly important skill in this age of crowded supermarkets and high fructose corn syrup. Wading through all of the available information is often half the battle.

Lucky for us, neuroscientist Nicole Avena broke down the effect of sugar on our brains and bodies in TED-Ed's latest animated installment.

According to Avena, when we eat sugar a signal is sent from the tongue to the cerebral cortex that activates a "rewards system." This in turn encourages us to eat more. A huge part of the rewards system is the release of dopamine in our brain, which, when put into overdrive, can be pretty addictive.

Suddenly those chocolate chip muffins you were thinking of buying are looking a little more suspicious.

But Avena doesn't want us to always walk away from the baked goods aisle. The reward system evolved in the first place because complex sugars are a necessary part of our diet-- they just can't be the focus.

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