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Ever felt down and gone for the chocolate or needed comforting only to find yourself at the fridge, spoon in hand, frantically hunting for the ice cream in the middle of the night? If yes, you may not be alone - you may even have a food addiction.
A new study from researchers at the Oregon Research Institute found that 'high fat' and 'sugary foods', particularly ice cream, can be addictive in a similar way to drugs.
151 teenagers took part in the study which saw 14-16 year-old participants fed chocolate ice cream milkshakes. The researchers found that people generally needed to eat more and more of the sugary dessert to receive the same feeling of euphoria gained from their first bite.
The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and supports claims by many that junk foods can be as addictive as drugs.
Dr Kyle Burger, from the Oregon Research Institute, said that the more people eat foods like ice cream the more the brain downgrades the feeling of reward gained from high fat and sugar foods. Adding: “Repeated, overconsumption of high-fat or high-sugar foods may alter how the brain responds to those foods in a way that perpetuates further intake".
"Tolerance is thought to increase use, or eating, because the individual is trying to achieve the previous level of satisfaction. The data supports the theory that overeating such foods may result in changes in how the brain responds to those foods in a similar fashion seen in drug addiction."
We're not convinced just yet at FDL. However, there is some other research done recently does establish a link between 'over eating' and what scientists believe is a sixth sense of taste, involving unique taste recepters on the tongue that can also lead to dependencies on high fat food.
Source: Oregon Research Institute