Junk food makes you want to eat more junk food, study says

Rats who ate a diet high in junk food not only gained weight, according to a new study, but they also lost their appetite for nutritious foods - an internal mechanism that normally keeps animals from overeating and maintaining a healthy diet.

The study, which was published in Frontiers in Psychology, might explain why overindulging in not-so-nutritious foods can lead to changed eating habits and a lack of self control.

"The interesting thing about this finding is that if the same thing happens in humans, eating junk food may change our responses to signals associated with food rewards," said Professor Margaret Morris, Head of Pharmacology from the School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Australia. "It's like you've just had ice cream for lunch, yet you still go and eat more when you hear the ice cream van come by."

Healthy rats know when to stop eating

For the study, Morris taught young male rats to associate certain sound cues with various flavors of sugar water. Rats that were raised on a healthy diet inherently knew when to stop - they didn't respond to the cues that were associated with a flavor they had recently indulged in.

But rats that had been on a two-week diet of junk food not only gained weight, but they stopped ignoring the sound cues when they were technically "full" on one flavor.

"The researchers think that a junk diet causes lasting changes in the reward circuit parts of the rats' brain, for example, the orbitofrontal cortex, an area of the brain responsible for decision-making," stated a press release on the study. "They say these results may have implications for people's ability to limit their intake of certain kinds of foods, because the brain's reward circuitry is similar in all mammals."

Source: Frontiers

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...