Drug and food addiction show surprising similarities. Yes, we’re serious—as a heart attack.
When Lay’s potato chips bet you couldn’t eat just one, they weren’t kidding. Studies have shown that there is a strong similarity between a cocaine addiction and those overpowering cravings for junk food. According to a study published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers showed that junk food and drugs have some similar effects on the brain. For example, rats fed a constant diet of Ho Hos, bacon, cheesecake and frosting sought out their junk food fix even when it meant enduring a painful shock. In addition, the pleasure centers in the rats’ brains became sluggish after they got used to the endless supply of crappy food. They needed bigger and bigger doses to get the same good feelings (just like a drug addict).
Take that, Pavlov’s dog.
Let’s get technical for a second. Frequent junk food binges actually rewire brain circuitry. In fact, neurobiologist associate Professor Paul Kenny from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, says overeating junk food can lead to a compulsive habit, one that is beyond your control. Another theory suggests that there could be something in the accumulated fat itself that alters the brain’s reward threshold, setting up a “vicious cycle” of overeating yet not feeling satisfied. No matter the reason why and how the brain reacts to junk food, the end result is addiction and weight gain.
Do you care about what you’re putting into your mouth and on your body? Would you prefer thighs that don’t touch? Are you a sucker for the environment? Get your daily snack for social change, and take a stand for what you believe in, damnit. From the co-author of New York Times Bestseller, Skinny Bitch, Healthy Bitch Daily is your online lifestyle resource that keeps it real, with fun topics on nutrition, health, fitness, beauty, style and staying eco-chic. Find something new to talk about at the dinner table.