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Junk "food" is Addictive, very much like Cocaine study suggests. Let's see what they're talking about . . . .
Today we draw from "The Week": April 16, 2010, Vol. 10, #459.
"Mmmmm, that was tasty . . . ."
Junk food is literally addictive, producing changes in brain chemistry very similar to the changes that occur during Cocaine use says a new study. Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida monitored electrical activity in the brains of rats given uncontrolled access to cheesecake, frosting, bacon and other fatty, high-calorie foods. To no one's surprise, the rats became obese in relatively short order.
They ate compulsively and continuously, even ignoring electrical shocks applied to their feet in the presense of food. As the food addicted rats ate; the high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt foods lit up the pleasure centers of their brains just as if they were taking drugs. Over time, the rats had to eat more and more fat, sugar and salt to feel rewarded.
"They loose control," said study co-author Paul Kenny. "This is the hallmark of addiction." Very interestingly, when the junk food was removed and replaced by health food, Kenny said, the rats were so upset that "they basically starved themselves for two weeks."
The finding doesn't surprise food experts like Dr. Wang of Brookhaven National Laboratory, who has pointed out that fast-food meals and heavily processed foods are stripped of fiber and nutrition and are basically designed to trigger innate preferences for fat, sugar and salt. Said Dr. Wang, "We make our food very similar to Cocaine now."