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Processed Food Addiction

Is ultra-processed food creating addictions such as those we normally associate with drugs and alcohol? That is what a recent study suggests.

One group of adults were asked to eat high-fat, high-sugar yogurt for eight weeks. Another was given low-fat, low-sugar yogurt. At the end of the trial, the group that ate the sugary yogurt showed “decreased preference” for the low-sugar one.

The scientists showed that the higher processed foods triggered the release of dopamine, the brain’s reward regions. They likened this to amphetamines like speed!

In fact, brain scans show the same behavior in food and drug addicts. According to Scientific American, “When researchers showed pictures of cocaine to drug addicts or photographs of donuts to healthy people, the same brain regions—ranging from the ventral striatum and amygdala to the cerebellum—lit up in both groups. And the stronger the volunteers’ reported craving was, the more intense their neural response was as well.”

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