Monday, July 5, 2010

Don't let them eat cake

A friend who shares sugar addiction sent me the following clipping from the Oregonian newspaper on June 29;

"Eating lots of cake and bacon changes the brain in ways similar to smoking cigarettes or taking cocaine, at least in rats.

"Scientists tested the addictive powers of junk food by giving rats all-they-could-eat access to a buffet of high-calorie foods, including sausage, cake, bacon, and chocolate, along with their regular (and far less compelling) rat chow. The rats got fat, regularly overeating the junk food, and their brains had fewer molecules that sense dopamine, a brain chemical that creates rewarding feelings. Similar decreases in rewarding sensing affect the brains of drag addicts, scientists wrote in Nature Neuroscience.

"Drug addicts also keep seeking another hit, even if it clearly harms them. The rats did the same. When scientists paired the fatty foods with electric shocks, normal-weight rats quite chasing the cake, but the rats who'd already binged on fatty foods endure the shocks to eat more."

Yikes, these are some of my favorite foods. But the scariest part is the reduction in dopamine receptors. No wonder it's hard to feel satisfied...

1 comment:

Bridget B. said...

Oh wow - that is scary. And it makes perfect sense. It also fits with my theory that those who are prone to addiction may have something wrong with their dopamine levels to begin with . . .