Cravings people have for ice cream are similar to those a junkie experiences for cocaine, a US study claims.
According to the study, published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the more ice cream an individual eats, the less "reward" they get.
Co-author of the study, Dr Kyle Burger, from the Oregon Research Institute, told The Daily Telegraph overeating high fat or high sugar foods appeared to change the way the brain responded to the food.
"This tolerance is thought to increase use, or eating, because the individual trying to achieve the previous level of satisfaction," he said.
"Repeated, over-consumption of high-fat or high-sugar foods may alter how the brain responds to those foods in a way that perpetuates further intake."
The study involved 151 healthy teenagers, aged 14 and 16, who were asked about their recent eating habits and how much they craved particular foods. The participants were then shown a picture of milk shakes, before being given a actual milk shake, while their brains were scanned with a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machine.
According to the study, all of the participants craved the ice cream, but those who had eaten ice cream in recent weeks enjoyed it less.
Dr Burger said this was the same reaction a drug addict experienced, as while cravings increased, pleasure decreased. He said this may be due to the brain releasing lower levels of dopamine.
"You could be continually trying to match the earlier experience," he told The Daily Telegraph, adding this could lead to overeating.
- Herald Online staff