Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, cheesecake and other delicious yet fattening foods could be as addictive to humans as nicotine and cocaine, according to a new study.
The study, published by the journal "Nature Neuroscience," tested groups of rats who were given a choice between healthy and junk food. Researchers say the findings cannot be directly correlated with humans, but may help understand why people binge on Twinkies instead of apples, and be used as a guideline for treating obesity.
The study found that given the choice, the rats much preferred binging on high-calorie food then the healthy choices offered. The junk food binging triggered addiction-like responses in the rats' brains, which in essence screamed "Yummy Devil Dogs! More, more, more!"
And apparently the more you eat junk, the more you crave it because you feel less satisfied. In the overweight rats, scientists found decreased levels of a brain chemical that allows a feeling of reward, as has been reported in humans addicted to drugs.
Obesity-related diseases cost around $150 billion each year, according to U.S. federal agencies. Around two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are overweight or obese.
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