Making Junk Food Junkies

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Giving junk food to rats can make them into addicts, exhibiting similar behavior to heroin junkies. For a recent experiment, researchers gave rats a diet of HoHos, sausage, poundcake, bacon, and cheesecake. The subjects quickly began compulsively eating and became obese, and soon, the pleasure centers in the rats’ brains became less sensitive to the food. “As a result,” Science News reports, “the rats ate more to get the same amount of pleasure–just as heroin addicts require more and more of the drug to feel good.” The changes due to binge eating lasted weeks after the rats began eating healthier, and researchers are now looking into the long-term affect of messing with the brains reward systems.

Source: Science News

Image by Tracy Hunter, licensed under Creative Commons.

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