Is there such a thing as food addiction? A study using brain imaging suggests that high-glycemic foods may trigger the same brain mechanism tied to substance addiction.
A team led by David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, found that consuming highly processed, rapidly digested carbohydrates can cause excess hunger and stimulate brain regions involved in reward and cravings. These findings suggest that limiting such “high-glycemic index” foods could help obese individuals avoid overeating.
Published this week in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study investigated how food intake is regulated by dopamine-containing pleasure centers of the brain.
“Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive,” says Ludwig. …