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Junk food just as addictive as drugs, study finds

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A new study has found that an addiction to junk can be compared to that of drugs like cocaine. How? Basically the pleasure center of the brain gets overloaded when often consuming junk food. Then, in the same way it works with drugs like cocaine or heroin, the pleasure centers “crash”, thus requiring more of the “drug” to achieve the same levels of pleasure, CNN reports.

Associate Professor of Molecular Therapeutics at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, Paul Kenny, Ph.D, said: “People know intuitively that there’s more to [overeating] than just willpower. There’s a system in the brain that’s been turned on or over-activated, and that’s driving [overeating] at some subconscious level.”

The study, conducted on rats, found that those who ate human junk food, unsurprisingly, became obese. But what scientists found out due to testing the electrodes implanted in the rats’ brains, was that they gradually built a tolerance to their food (as humans do with drugs). This means the rats had to eat more junk food to be able to get the high.

“While the findings cannot be directly transferred to human obesity, it found that overconsumption of high-calorie food triggered addiction-like responses in the brain,” the Telegraph writes.

The study was published online in Nature Neuroscience.

Several celebrities have battled weight problems. These include Sharon Osbourne,Oprah WinfreyJohn Candy and Kirstie Alley.

Click here to find out more about obesity.

Images: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1034136, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1014535

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