A new study has shown that junk food can be as addictive as drugs
American scientists have found that when you eat junk food like chocolate, with its high levels of fat, sugar and salt, it creates the same sort of pleasure response you get from alcohol, nicotine or cocaine. With repeated indulgence, this pleasure response is dampened, as the dopamine receptors in your brain get less and less sensitive and you need a bigger junk food 'hit' to trigger that high - just like an addict.
It's been known for a while that rats can get 'addicted' to junk food, but this research, from the University of Oregon, is the first proof that humans may be similarly affected. What's more, it's been found that some people are born with less active dopamine circuits, making them more liable to all sorts of addictions.
ZEST SAYS: From this research, reported on newscientist.com, it looks like you only get addicted if you eat enough junk food to put on a substantial amount of weight (the subjects who showed addiction were already obese and had put on another half a stone over 6 months). What needs to be tackled is not just the prevalence of junk food, but also the reasons why people start to overeat in the first place.
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