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No kidding...junk food is as addictive as cocaine or nicotine new study finds

Posted Mar 31 2010 7:00am

Halloween-candy-leftovers

Of course weight is the enemy of performance when it comes to endurance sports so it might come as no surprise to you that a new study has found that "bingeing on high-calorie foods may be as addictive as cocaine or nicotine, and could cause compulsive eating and obesity, according to recent Reuters story.

"Obesity may be a form of compulsive eating. Other treatments in development for other forms of compulsion, for example drug addiction, may be very useful for the treatment of obesity," researcher Paul Kenny of The Scripps Research Institute in Florida said.

The new study found that rats became addicted to high calorie foods or at least had a similar addiction-like responses in their brains when they were given foods high in calories.

According to Reuters :

"The scientists also found decreased levels of a specific dopamine receptor -- a brain chemical that allows a feeling of reward -- in overweight rats, as has been reported in humans addicted to drugs.

One group ate a balanced healthy diet. Another group received healthy food, but had access to high-calorie food for one hour a day. Rats in the third group were fed healthy meals and given unlimited access to high-calorie foods.

The rats in the third group developed a preference for the high-calorie food, munched on it all day and quickly became obese, Kenny said."



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