Addictive Foods, do they exist?

Addictive Foods….Are there such things?

Posted on December 22nd 2011 by Marisa Peer

Scientists say that certain sugary snacks have a similar effect to hard drugs, making them addictive foods. Here’s why some people are more prone to craving junk than others – and how to overcome addictive foods for healthier habits.

Don’t plunge deeper into self-loathing as you grab your fifth custard cream – your biscuit blowout might not actually be your fault. The treats that sabotage our weight loss attempts could be physically addictive. What’s more, food scientists working for fast food chains may deliberately create meals that are literally irresistible.

A study at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, USA, found lab rats became addicted to a bad diet, in the way that people become dependent on cocaine and heroin, and now studies are finding similar effects on humans with addictive foods.

“Scientists have found that fatty, sugary foods make the brain release dopamine just like drugs,” says diet expert and psychotherapist Marisa Peer, author of You Can Be Thin. “The dopamine gives you a slight high, but the dopamine receptors become less sensitive, so you need more and more to get the same feeling. So, although your body doesn’t want junk like doughnuts, it starts to demand it.”

It seems some of us find it harder than others to resist these cravings. “In our diabetes study, we found people with a particular gene have lower dopamine receptors than normal so that the brain doesn’t register the effects of dopamine as much as it should,” says clinical researcher Dr. Neal Barnard, author of Breaking The Food Seduction (St Martin’s Griffin). “

So they need to eat more to feel pleasure and are more likely to become overweight and develop type 2 diabetes.”

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