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Showing posts from October, 2013

Food addiction: Myth or reality

Animal models appear to show that certain foods (usually the so-called “high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt foods) can be addictive. However, this experimental model of addiction bears no relationship to addiction in humans. In his book “An End to Over-eating”, David Kessler comments on this animal model of food addiction, one he incidentally finds attractive to human obesity. Citing work from Italian researchers, which showed that in the short term, a cheese flavoured snack food increased levels of dopamine in rat brains he writes thus: “Over time, habituation set in, dopamine levels declined and food lost its capacity to activate their behaviour. But there’s more to the story. It turns out that if the stimulus is powerful enough, or administered intermittently enough, the brain may not curb its dopamine response after all. Desire remains high. We see this with cocaine use, which does not result in habituation”. Effectively one can trick the mouse and then make a quick jump to human c…