Junk food is almost as addictive as heroin, scientists have found
Over the years these junk foods can become a substitute for happiness and will lead bingers to become addicted. Dr Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist, carried out the research which shows how dangerous high fat and high sugar foods can be to our health . “You lose control. It’s the hallmark of addiction,” he said.
The researchers believe it is one of the first studies to suggest brains may react in the same way to junk food as they do to drugs.
Dr Kenny, who began his research at Guy’s Hospital, London, but now works at Florida’s Scripps Research Institute, divided rats into three groups for his research, due to be published in teh US soon. One got normal amounts of healthy food to eat. Another lot was given restricted amounts of junk food and the third group was given unlimited amounts of junk, including cheesecake, fatty meat products, and cheap sponge cakes and chocolate snacks.
There were no adverse effects on the first two groups, but the rats who ate as much junk food as they wanted quickly became very fat and started bingeing. When researchers electronically stimulated the part of the brain that feels pleasure, they found that the rats on unlimited junk food needed more and more stimulation to register the same level of pleasure as the animals on healthier diets. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6451119/Junk-food-as-addictive-as-drugs.html
Ice cream and chocolate bars are addictive because the mix of ingredients in them activates our "bliss point", according to Professor David Kessler, a leading scientist.
By Ben Leach Telegraph, 29 Jun 2009
Professor Kessler, ex-commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claims that manufacturers have created combinations of fat, sugar and salt that are so tasty many people cannot stop eating them even when full. Living near fast food restaurants 'increases obesity risk' He argues that manufacturers are seeking to trigger a "bliss point" when people eat certain products, leaving them hungry for more. "It is time to stop blaming individuals for being overweight or obese," he said. "
The real problem is we have created a world where food is always available and where that food is designed to make you want to eat more of it. For millions of people, modern food is simply impossible to resist." While at the FDA, Prof Kessler was well known for his criticism of the tobacco industry, which he accused of manipulating cigarettes to make them even more addictive.
In a new book, The End of Overeating, he suggests precise combinations of fat, sugar, salt and texture have been used by foods manufacturers to make products "hyper-palatable". Heinz tomato ketchup and Starbucks white chocolate mocha Frappuccino are cited as examples of the thousands of modern foods that have been engineered to stimulate feelings of pleasure.
Prof Kessler, who ran the FDA from 1990 to 1997 and is now professor of paediatrics, epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, added that at the optimum point, food stimulates many people's appetites instead of suppressing it. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/5673512/Why-junk-food-really-is-addictive.html