Monday, April 11, 2011
Food Addictions Similar to Brain Addictions
How many times have you heard the phrase "I have a bit of a sweet tooth." The fact is that dentition has nothing to do with craving sugary snacks and a recent study shows it's all in your head. Previous studies showed that indulging in both narcotics and food release certain levels of dopamine (the happy chemical) into the brain. The new study was able to map the release of the dopamine in a persons brain when showed images of food. The result? Identical patterns of dopamine release in both drug addicts and food cravers. When first shown the images of a food, levels of activity in the 'anticipatory regions of the brain spiked. However, when given the tasty treat the 'reward areas' of the brain showed far less activity. This is similar to a pattern of chasing a high. Indulging does not satisfy the anticipation, so the user consumes more and more. It's a viscous cycle.