Mar 29th 2010 By Jeremy Taylor
Our happy hour fact to amaze your drinking buddies with.
Lab rats become intensely addicted to high-calorie junk food.
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida gave a group of lab rats unlimited access to bacon, candy bars and pound cake
. Not only did the rodents quickly gain weight, but they became so hooked on eating the junk food that they wouldn't stop even when an electric shock was administered to their legs.
Lab rats who were fed a healthy diet with limited access to junk food
, on the other hand, didn't eat the high-calorie food compulsively -- and would always stop their chowing down when shocked. Furthermore, when the junk food rodents were switched to a healthy diet, they refused to eat at all for two weeks.
The researchers aren't sure exactly how this relates to humans and overeating, but they note the junk food harmed dopamine receptors in the lab rats' brains -- the same receptors that are damaged by cocaine use
So if we act to ban or regulate junk food -- as some have suggested -- it may led to some truly disturbing behavior on the part of junk-food-craving fatties