Monday, March 29, 2010

Junk food 'as addictive as heroin and smoking'

American researchers found burgers, chips and sausages programmed a human brain into craving even more sugar, salt and fat laden food.

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida found laboratory rats became addicted on a bad diet just like people who became dependent on cocaine and heroin.

While the findings cannot be directly transferred to human obesity, it found that overconsumption of high-calorie food triggered addiction-like responses in the brain.

But the study, published online in Nature Neuroscience, suggests for the first time that our brains may react in the same way to junk food as it does to drugs.

Dr Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist who led the research, said the study, which took nearly three years to complete, confirmed the "addictive" properties of junk food.

"Obesity may be a form of compulsive eating,” he said.

“Other treatments in development for other forms of compulsion, for example drug addiction, may be very useful for the treatment of obesity.

"The new study explains what happens in the brain of these animals when they have easy access to high-calorie, high-fat food.”

Source and More:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7533668/Junk-food-as-addictive-as-heroin-and-smoking.html

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