With the waistlines of Americans expanding rapidly, there is an urgent need for methods to combat the food-addiction.
Junk food is not merely an unhealthy habit, it is an addiction. Foodfacts.com encountered an article indicating that a new study has revealed that compulsive eating is just as addictive as cigarette smoking or drugs.
Foodfacts.com noticed a study that was published in the clinical journal Nature Neuroscience. It revealed for the first time that a similar mechanism is involved in substance abuse and compulsive eating.
Drug addiction is known to result from a dysfunction of the reward system of brain that causes cravings for certain substances. Now the scientists have found that a similar dysfunction causes some people to have uncontrollable cravings of junk food.
Scientists claim that a diet containing chips, burgers, and sausages affects the human brain in a way that it yearns for more sugar, salt and high-fat food.
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute, Florida, provided laboratory rats with a diet full of burgers, chips, and high-sugar snacks. The rats, they found, soon became so dependent on that diet that they refused to consume any healthy food served to them subsequently.
Interestingly, the food caused the animals to become so addicted that they did not stop munching even when they were threatened to be shocked with an electric shocking device.
Scientists claim that a diet containing chips, burgers, and sausages affects the human brain in a way that it yearns for more sugar, salt, and high-fat food.
Dopamine reward system affected
“Extended access to fatty foods cannot only as we all know affect your waistline. But it’s also affecting your dopamine reward system as well,” said David Shurtleff, the director of the basic neuroscience and behavioral division of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, which sponsored the study.
Dopamine, a brain chemical responsible for transmitting signals, is responsible for mood regulation and also plays a role in drug and alcohol dependence. Shurtleff said that dopamine had a key role to play in regulation of any form of addiction.
With the waistlines of Americans expanding rapidly, there is an urgent need for a method to combat the food-addiction.
“What it’s really pointing to, this study along with many others, is showing us that the dopamine system is important in pathological [disease] behaviors such as compulsive eating as well compulsive drug-taking,” Shurtleff said. “The next step would be to target this receptor in some way to learn more about how it functions in the brain and develop treatments for obesity and addiction.”
Samia Sehgal via The Money Times.com