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October 30, 2009

Junk food binges may lead to addiction

Using junk food as rewards stimulates the reward centers in the brain, leading to addictive behavior. A recent study presented at Neuroscience 2009 last week is being reported all over the internet. 

Interestingly, this is the basic premise of former FDA Commissioner David Kessler's recent book, The End of Overeating (blogged here).  

From Science Daily.com:

Brain pleasure centers became progressively less responsive in rats fed a diet of high-fat, high-calorie food, a new study has found. As the changes occurred, the rats developed compulsive overeating habits -- and became obese. The overeating continued even when it meant the rats had to endure an unpleasant consequence (a mild foot shock) in order to consume the food. . . .

The researchers also found that as the activity of the brain's pleasure centers decreased, the rats became less likely to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet -- even when the less palatable healthy food was the only food available to them.

Read the rest of this article at Science Daily.com -- Junk Food Diet Causes Rats’ Brain Pleasure Centers To Become Progressively Less Responsive

New York Daily News:Binging on junk food encourages addictive behavior: study

Science News: Junk Food Junkies -- Rats on a junk food diet behave like drug addicts

October 30, 2009 in Obesity, Science | Permalink

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