Of Mice and Men… and Junk Food?

A new study tested the addictive power of junk food on lab rats (Click here to go to the Washington Post article.). The subjects were given only junk food to eat—which they gladly consumed in cookie monster fashion. Later in the study some rats were given food choice, healthy food alongside junk food. Of course the rats choose the junk food, but here is the catch—anytime they choose the junk food the rat was given an electric shock. Rats who had not been given junk food quickly stayed away from the cookies and ho-hos, but the rats who had been on the junk food power diet took the shocks in stride! The animals choose junk food, even with electrical pain!

Another group of rats who had been feed only junk food were then offered only nutritious food pellets. They were so addicted to junk “the animals refused to eat, even though they were clearly starving.”

As we head into Thanksgiving—the celebration designed to gorge on turkey and pie—enjoy. But also take time to consider what you are eating. We are not so foolish to starve while refusing broccoli, but we are often addicted to  overeating. And not just once a year. I often overstuff on good meals (and sometimes Moe’s, “Welcome to stomach rupturing!”).

So the number one health epidemic in the US has become obesity… but more importantly, while we stuff others are hungry…

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