When we hear the word addiction, what comes to mind, is a picture of someone hooked on heroin or cocaine. We rarely think of food as addictive. Well am here to tell you categorically that food is just as addictive as heroin. If you are serious about finding out the root cause of overweight and obesity, this is where to start.
According to a study published in “Nature Neuroscience”, the effects of high-fat, high-calorie fast food on animals, were very similar to those of cocaine or heroin.
From the research, the effects of fast food on the rat’s brain, were very similar to what happens to a cocaine addict. After a while, the rats exhibits typical behaviors of an addict, to the point that they had to be fed more and more food for them to feel okay.
The lab rats were divided into three groups. One group was fed healthy food. The other group received a restricted amount of junk food while the last group was allowed to eat high-fat, high-calorie foods, as much as they want, with the result that they became obese.
The most remarkable discovery was that the brain of the obese rats altered physically. The obese rats totally lost the capacity to control their appetites.
They continued eating even when they were filled. Even introducing an obstacle in the form of an electric shock did not deter them from eating. To worsen the matter, when their diets were changed to healthy wholesome foods, they stopped eating and starved for an entire two weeks!
In a different study conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York City. It was discovered that rats fed with food high in saturated fats and packed with sugar and calories ( a re-creation of most common fast-food menu ) lowered the rats ability to respond to leptin. Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite. As the rats gained more weight, the amount of leptin in their bodies also kept rising, essentially signaling their brain that they were starving. Therefore the rats continued to overeat and gain more weight.
Highly palatable foods made with high fat, high calorie, sugar… typical make-up for a fast food menu… are absolutely addicting. On the other hand, healthy wholesome food is not addictive. Can you imagine being addicted to vegetable? Vegetable is not addictive, but cookies, chips, or soda can be just as addictive as cocaine. The rats that were addicted in the experiment, continued to eat, despite being given electric shock!
This is exactly why overweight has become an epidemic. We are fighting an addiction without really knowing it. Eating refined carbohydrates like cookies, cakes, candy, pasta, white bread, raises serotonin and endorphins in the brain, creating a happy feel-good, peaceful state. Thus we crave these carbs when we are anxious or stressed.
Eating foods high in sugar and salt, makes us want to eat more foods of the same nature. Fast foods and food manufacturers have mastered the art of making foods that are palatable and thus addictive.
Alcohol, cigarette, heroine are biologically addictive substances, and that is why addicts continue using them despite being fully aware of the terrible consequences on their health and social status. They can’t help themselves; their physiology has being wired to crave these substances. That’s exactly what happens to a food addict. And unknowingly, that is exactly what is happening to most of us.
This is why obese patients continue to overeat despite full knowledge of the adverse health consequences. They often face physical discomfort and social stigma, including discrimination in their office, yet they keep overeating. It is simply because certain kinds of food are highly addictive, even more addictive than drugs. Many obese patients simply can’t help themselves. They are food addicts.
In a different study conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine New York City. It was discovered that rats fed with food high in saturated fats and packed with sugar and calories ( a recreation of most common fast-food menu ) lowered the rats ability to respond to leptin. Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite. As the rats gained more weight, the amount of leptin in their bodies also kept rising, essentially signaling their brain that they were starving. Therefore the rats continued to overeat and gain more weight.