How often do you get a craving that you just can’t seem to get out of your mind until you indulge in it. You know your body doesn’t need it, you’re not even hungry, but you just can’t kick the craving. You may not be the only one.
There is a new small study that suggests food lovers, wheather craving or indulging in their fixes, appear to have brain activity similar to that of substance abusers.
The study of observed 48 young women, all around the age of twenty, and ranging from lean to obese. Each woman had fMRI as they were exposed to two conditions — anticipation of a rich chocolate milkshake versus a tasteless control solution, and consumption of the milkshake versus the tasteless control.
Ashley Gearhardt, MS, of Yale, and colleagues reported that while the women were anticipating drinking the chocolate milkshake, those with higher food addiction scores showed a greater amount of activation in brain regions associated with reward.
The woman had reduced activation of inhibitory brain regions seen on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) when the women actually got to drink the milkshake. “Similar patterns of neural activation are implicated in addictive-like eating behavior and substance abuse and dependence,” Gearhardt and colleagues wrote.
The researchers have also noted that prior research has shown that there’s an addictive process in the development of obesity.
Food and drug use both result in dopamine release in the brain’s mesolimbic regions, and the degree of release correlates with subjective reward from both food and drug use.
Gearhardt’s group concluded that the study “supports the theory that compulsive food consumption may be driven in part by an enhanced anticipation of the rewarding properties of food,” and that eating “may override desires to limit caloric food consumption … resulting in disinhibited food consumption.”
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Information gathered from MedPage Today http://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/Addictions/25713