View Full Version : Ice cream 'could be as addictive as cocaine' according to research

7th March 2012, 11:30 AM
Cravings for ice cream can be so strong they are similar to those experienced by drug addicts, a study has found.

The research has sparked concerns that the dessert could be genuinely addictive after it found the brain was left wanting more ice cream in the same way as someone who regularly uses cocaine.

The results of the study now seem to support previous claims that some people can become 'addicted' to junk food.

The research, published online by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those who regualrly ate ice cream needed more and more to replicate the 'high' they first experienced.

This mirrors the effect cocaine - and other class A drugs - has on users, it was reported.

According to Dr Kyle Burger, from the Oregon Research Institute, overeating food with high fat and sugar seems to change the way the brain responds to it, resulting in it downgrading the mental 'reward'.

Dr Burger, who is a co-author of the study, told The Telegraph: 'This down-regulation pattern is seen with frequent drug use, where the more an individual uses the drug, the less reward they receive for using it.

'This tolerance is thought to increase use, or eating, because the individual [is] trying to achieve the previous level of satisfaction.'

More than 150 teenagers - aged between 14 and 16 - took part in the study, which required them to consume chocolate milkshakes before being interviewed about their eating habits and subsequent cravings.

The teens also had their brains scanned while they were shown pictures of chocolate milkshakes before they were given one to drink.

According to the research, all participants wanted the ice cream but those who ate the most enjoyed it less and less. Instead, they had to eat more of it to experience the same level of enjoyment.

Dr Burger added: 'You could be continually trying to match the earlier experience.'