A recent study has shed some light on something that many of us already knew…food can be very addicting!
If you haven’t heard about this study yet, you will soon. Nature Neuroscience just published a study that sought to explore just how addicting food can be. I’ll explain the study, and let me know what you think in the comments section below.
The study was done on 3 groups of rats.
Group #1: No access to fatty foods.
Group #2: Access to fatty foods for 1 hour per day.
Group #3: Unlimited access to fatty foods.
In the study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Paul J. Kenny Ph.D. and his co-author studied three groups of lab rats for 40 days. One of the groups was fed regular rat food. A second was fed bacon, sausage, cheesecake, frosting, and other fattening, high-calorie foods–but only for one hour each day. The third group was allowed to pig out on the unhealthy foods for up to 23 hours a day.
After the 40 days, not only did Group #3 become overweight, they also developed an addiction to the high calorie foods. The rats were then allowed access to the unhealthy foods, but this time with a twist. When the rats tried to eat the unhealthy foods, they had a shock on their feet. The rats in the first two groups turned away from the food, but the rats from the first group endured the shocks so they could still consume the unhealthy food. It turns out that after just 40 days they had an addiction that made it worth enduring the pain. This happened because high calorie foods activates the pleasure centers in the brain, similar to what drugs do. So the pleasure of eating the food was greater than the pain they were experiencing from the electrical shock.
So the next time you wonder why you overindulged on food even though you knew you shouldn’t. This should explain it. And while we don’t mindlessly eat fatty foods for 23 hours a day, we do mindlessly eat fatty foods more often than we realize. Walking by the candy jar, taking a piece of the kids’ Poptart, or grabbing just a few fries from someone’s order. Those patterns create habits and do affect you.
By giving in to temptation, you are setting yourself up for a dependence on that kind of food in the future. Consciously resist the foods you don’t need, and before you know it I’ll hear you say that the thought of fast food grosses you out. Hang in there. If you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.