Scientists and obese lab rats have found that high-fat, high-calorie foods effect the brain in a similar way to cocaine and heroin. A new study shows that both hard drugs and junk food overload the brain’s pleasure center and cause it to crash, necessitating a bigger hit of junk food/coke/heroin to get the same pleasure…and, well, we’ve all been there before.
The study suggests that overeating isn’t just a matter of willpower but more akin to addiction. The lab rats were divided into three groups; one group was fed regular rat food, the second was allowed to consume human junk food for an hour each day, and the third was allowed unlimited access to the junk food. Researchers found that the third group ate compulsively. When they applied a painful electrical shock to the rats while eating, those in the first and second group stopped, but the rats in the third group kept on chowing down. Rats given unlimited access to cocaine and heroin have exhibited similar behaviors and similar changes in their brains pleasure centers.
Scientists also note that our food is now made in a manner similar to cocaine. Just as snorting cocaine has been refined and purified from the centuries-old practic of chewing on coca leaves, making it more addictive, so has food. Rather than eating whole grains and corn, as our ancestors did, we now go straight to the vein with Wonder Bread and corn syrup.
And, as a whole, these studies further suggest that Jamie Oliver will be the new Dr. Drew.