Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Fast Food = Soma
A diet including unlimited amounts of junk food can cause rats to become so addicted to the unhealthy diet that they will starve themselves rather than go back to eating healthy food, researchers have discovered.
In a series of studies conducted over the course of three years and published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Scripps Florida scientists Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny have shown that rats' response to unlimited junk food closely parallels well-known patterns of drug addiction -- even down to the changes in brain chemistry.
"What we have are these core features of addiction, and these animals are hitting each one of these features," Kenny said.
In their first study, the researchers fed rats on either a balanced diet or on the same diet plus unlimited access to junk foods purchased at a local supermarket, including processed meats and cakes. Within a short time period, the rats on the junk food diet began to eat compulsively and quickly became overweight.
"They're taking in twice the amount of calories as the control rats," Kenny said.
The researchers hypothesized that the rats were eating compulsively because, like drug addicts, they had become desensitized to smaller amounts and needed more and more for the same rush of pleasure.
Many recreational drugs work by directly stimulating the brain's pleasure centers, particularly the dopamine receptor known as D2. Overstimulation of this receptor causes the body to start producing less dopamine, leading the addict to compensate by taking more of the drug.
Since dopamine can also be released by pleasurable activities such as food or sex, Kenny and Johnson speculated that food addiction could develop in the same way. To test whether the rats had, in fact, become habituated to dopamine, the researchers took the rats from the first experiment and hooked their brains up to a device that would directly stimulate their D2 receptors when they ran on a wheel.
Rats eating a junk food diet ran on the wheel significantly longer than rats fed a normal diet, suggesting that their receptors had indeed become desensitized. This "profound" desensitization occurred after just five days on a junk food diet.
"They're not experiencing rewards the way they should," Kenny said. "When you experience that, one way of feeling better is to go back to the junk food."
"They lose control. This is the hallmark of addiction."
In another test of their addiction hypothesis, the researchers used a virus to block the D2 receptors in healthy rats. All those rats soon became compulsive eaters.
"This is the most complete evidence to date that suggests obesity and drug addiction have common neurobiological underpinnings," Johnson said.
Having established that the junk food rats had become addicted, Johnson and Kenny wanted to know how far this addiction would push them. So they took both junk-food addicted rats and rats that had not previously been exposed to such food, and exposed them to electrical shocks whenever they ate junk. Rats that had just been introduced to junk food quickly stopped eating it, while the addicted rats ignored the discomfort and kept eating.
Perhaps the most shocking finding came when the researchers took away the addicted rats' access to junk food and started feeding them only healthy rat chow again -- the same diets the rats had eaten as pups. When junk food was no longer available, the rats simply refused to eat for two weeks.
"They actually voluntarily starved themselves," Kenny said.
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And You Tell Me There's No Suppressed Technology?
It's another of those 'conspiracy theories' that good citizens don't notice. Imagine the standard of living if all the secret technology was released to the public...we'd be "free and independent" as JFK said! No more poverty anywhere! Can you imagine being sick enough to withhold such technology from society just to maintain your position of control? (Bearing in mind that we don't know just how much technological capability is being withheld, because, duh, it's secret.) What did Nikola Tesla really develop?
Individual Liberty? But that's "selfish"!
No, we need to look after each other voluntarily without having a government do all that at gunpoint. Sounds absurd at first but soon you realise that the reason it sounds so is because of the very unfree nature of our current existence. Envision greater possibilities! Ok, some kind of massive wake-up would be needed before this kind of free, responsible, uncontrollable society could emerge. And that's what we are seeing day by day in the world - a massive waking up of the previously enslaved masses (including myself I must add!)