SCIENTISTS PROVE JUNK FOOD IS ADDICTIVE
We’ve all experienced it. That compulsion to over eat sweet, salty, fatty food. Whether it’s a burger, fries and shake or just a tub of cookie dough ice cream, junk food rarely leaves you feeling full and often leaves some people, inexplicably, wanting more.
Well, researchers at the University of Michigan have published a study which just might prove, once and for all, that junk food can be addictive. The study aimed to identify which specific foods elicit an addictive response. The researchers posit that foods with added fat and carbohydrate ‘share pharmacokinetic properties with drugs of abuse.’
A similar research project published in 2013 indicated that Oreo cookies stimulate the brain in a similar way to addictive drugs like cocaine (in rats). This new research out of U of M, however, surveyed human reaction to both highly processed and unprocessed foods.
Participants in the 2015 study were asked to rate their reaction to a variety of foods using the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Not surprisingly, it was found that high fat/high sugar foods were most associated with addictive behaviour. The heather foods, such as a portion of salmon and brown rice, did not provoke the same reaction.
One of the study’s authors said, ‘This is a first step towards identifying specific foods, and properties of foods, which can trigger this addictive response,” she said. “This could help change the way we approach obesity treatment. It may not be a simple matter of ‘cutting back’ on certain foods, but rather, adopting similar methods that are used to curtail smoking, drinking and drug use.”