September 2nd, 2010 | 4 Comments
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?
Written by Lindsay
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
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