Fatty and Sugary Foods May Be as Addictive as Cocaine and Cigarettes
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting fatty and sugary foods rewire the brain in the same way drugs like cocaine and nicotine do, leading to addiction. In recent studies, lab animals who have been fed a diet of sugary and fatty snacks show the classic signs of addiction, and brain scans of obese humans show the same disturbances in their reward circuits as the brains that are found in drug addicts. With more and more research uncovering the pernicious effects of junk food, pressure is beginning to mount on the government to regulate fatty and sugary foods like they have tobacco. “This could change the legal landscape,” explains Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. “People knew for a long time cigarettes were killing people, but it was only later they learned about nicotine and the intentional manipulation of it.” Currently, 1/3 of US adults and 17 percent of children are classified as obese.