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Possible New JFAA Fellowship – Junk Food Addicts Anonymous?

junk-food12 We all know bacon drenched in gravy and a side of biscuits probably isn’t your healthiest breakfast choice. However, when we bought the container of bacon at our local Stop ‘n Shop, would we have thought twice about buying it if the package had contained a warning indicating the addictive potential of the bacon?

Scientists’ emerging research shows a parallel between the brain’s reactions that occur with substances such as morphine, cocaine and heroin and reactions that occur with junk food such as candy, chips, sodas, fast foods — anything that tastes really, really delicious and releases dopamine in the brain upon consumption. Scientists used rats to study affects on the brain when junk food such as icing, chocolate, and sausage were eaten. The rat’s resulting brain were almost duplicates of the patterns that occurred after the rats were fed morphine or heroin.

“The scandalous thing was that when these rats were subject to electric shocks to stay away from these foods, still the shocks were unsuccessful in keeping them away from the junk food,” says Jason Ramsey from Top News US.

This element of the experiment screams “addiction!” Think about it — people who are addicted to drugs often suffer through an entourage of negative outcomes before seeking help. They are faced with dangers on a daily basis and red flags that their behavior is out of control, yet they continue to engage in risky behaviors. Negative outcomes related to junk food are vast. Most commonly, people gain weight and incur serious risks to their health such as higher rates of Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The humans gain weight and risk disease; rats are shocked with electricity and suffer feelings of pain. Yet in both cases, the subjects skulk their way back to the root cause of their discomfort — junk food.

Given the inevitable feeling of helplessness an active addict falls prey to regardless of the substance of choice, should transporters be responsible for warning labels to preclude these feelings? Should producers be required to warn consumers about the potentially addictive quality of the sugary, salty foods they make? People’s opinions are split in half. I lean toward the side that says we live in a free world, and people make their own decisions. If we start regulating things as freely available as food, what happens to other potentially addictive things like massages and coffee? Both are addictive in different ways — should there be disclaimers at your local massage parlor that say “Don’t get rubbed without thinking this through!” Or should Starbucks be held liable for the person who drive themselves into bankruptcy for not being able to go without their $6 honey-kissed-soy-extra-shot-of-espresso latte every day? How far are we going to go before holding the individual accountable?

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Filed under: Addiction, Eating disorders, Latest News · Tags: active addict, addict, Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, brain's reactions, cancer, candy, cocaine, dopamine, experiment, falls prey, fast food, heart disease, Heroin, higher rates of Type II diabetes, incur serious risks to their health, Jason Ramsey, junk food, junk food addiction, morphine, negative outcomes, outcomes related to junk food, people gain weight, rats, resulting brain, scientists, seeking help, shocks, study, substance of choice, substances, sugary, Top News, transporters be responsible, used rats, warning labels

  • http://cpbaron@metrocast.net Cindy

    I’m not sure if it is the “Junk” in junk food that is addictive, or if these folks are just food addicts. Most addicts find the fastest way to get a fix, and driving through a drive in window is a lot quicker than going home and cooking it yourself. Plus, you can do it alone when no one is watching!

  • Tony

    For me, being someone who used to go to a variety of fast food or casual restaurants for lunch, nearly everyday… It took the recession to break me of the habit… I started packing healthy lunches, primarily as a way to save money. After a period of time, I started to feel better, lost weight, and happily, the urge to go there anymore… Then, I cut out Sodas, and nearly all other processed sugar from my diet.. Lost even more weight, energy levels are up.. Just feel better overall..

    Warning labels on food? Not remotely in favor of an even larger government presence in my life.. What IS lacking is personal accountability, that seems to have gone out of fashion.. as it is far easier to blame someone else for your problems or actions.. If you think someone is to blame for your problems, it is even easier to say someone else is responsible for resolving your problems.. The first step is “I am responsible for my own actions..”

  • Joanne

    Great point about the possible perils of coffee and massages – where do we draw the line? Lots of insight in the blog.

    I also agree with Cindy and Tony – “food” for thought for all of us.

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