Thursday, March 15, 2012

Can We Get Addicted To Ice Cream?

You’ve had plenty of ice cream, but you’re reaching for that scoop again.
If you're like me, you'll not be surprised to hear that ice cream may be as addictive as drugs.
True! Is ice cream as addictive as heroin? Or, put another way, is heroin as addictive as ice cream? Depending on how you phrase the question, you're either asking whether heroin addiction is no more serious than a love of junk food, or you're questioning whether junk food junkies may have a serious disorder that needs intervention. Now a new study suggests there may be no clear line between addictive and normal responses, and adds to evidence that all addictions act on the same motivational system in the brain.
US researchers have bolstered previous research that people can be left feeling 'addicted' to some foods. (They actually studied Haagen Dazs ice cream: no word on your low-fat versions, 'home brands', or NZ's iconic Tip Top brand.)
In the study, 150 teens between 14-16, were shown a picture of a chocolate milkshake and had to answer questions about eating habits and food cravings before they could drink it.
Using brain imaging, researchers found that teenagers who had recently eaten the most ice cream enjoyed looking at the drink less. This is a pattern common to drug users who need more of a drug to achieve a high. This pattern shows up with frequent drug use, where the more an individual uses the drug, the less reward they receive from using it.
It's easy to get into a dessert habit. Indeed, for many of us, that ice cream habit has been in place since our childhood - there's a cue (dinner is over), a routine (ice cream time!) and a reward (the flavour). And if the ice cream doesn’t arrive? Our brain gets unhappy, and starts giving off patterns that look a lot like anger — or even depression!
Ice cream addiction? YES!!! There IS a god!! Bring it on!!

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