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High-calorie, fatty foods may cause cocaine-like addiction


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High-calorie, fatty foods may cause cocaine-like addiction

maria lorraine | Mar 28, 2010 02:13 PM

A study by the Scripps Research Institute and published today in the journal Nature Neuroscience suggests "that the same molecular mechanisms that drive people into drug addiction are behind the compulsion to overeat, pushing people into obesity."

The study says that regular consumption of high-fat, high-calorie foods overloads the so-called pleasure centers in the brain and affects the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin. The study found that when rats consumed these foods in great enough quantities, it led to compulsive eating habits that resembled drug addiction. The rats not only became obese, their brains changed.

The Scripps Florida scientists say the study "bolsters the increasingly popular theory that Americans' bulging waistlines can be blamed in part on the addictive attributes of unhealthy food...The fat rats became so hooked on junk food that when researchers took away the bad stuff and replaced it with healthy food, the rodents chose to starve themselves."

The study in Nature Neuroscience:

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