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  1. Docta
    Fatty foods may be as addictive as cocaine, according to a number of medical studies at leading universities and government laboratories, which suggest that processed foods and sugary drinks made by companies like PepsiCo and Kraft can have a similar chemical effect on the brain as many narcotics

    “The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”
    Studies on animal test subjects have found that sugary drinks and fatty foods can produce addictive behavior, while brain scans of obese people and compulsive eaters reveal disturbances in brain reward circuits similar to those observed in drug users.

    Twenty-eight scientific studies and papers on food addiction have been published this year alone, and if evidence expands, proving definitively and beyond a doubt that fatty foods and snacks and drinks sweetened with sugar and high fructose corn syrup are addictive, the $1 trillion food and beverage industry might be hit with the biggest consumer safety battle since the anti-smoking movement took on the tobacco industry.
    “This could change the legal landscape,” said Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. “People knew for a long time cigarettes were killing people, but it was only later they learned about nicotine and the intentional manipulation of it.”

    Food company executives and lobbyists are quick to defend the industry. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi says “fun-for-you” foods are fine if eaten in moderation, and says her company is making big strides toward offering consumers a wide range of healthier snacking options. Coca-Cola , Kellogg , and Kraft declined to grant interviews with their scientists.

    While the food industry might deny their products are to blame for the rising obesity rate in the U.S., there is no denying that obesity is a fast growing problem. A third of adults and 17% of teens and children in the U.S. are obese, and those numbers are increasing. Obesity rates around the world are climbing as well.

    And the cost to society is huge. A 2009 study of 900,000 people found that moderate obesity reduces life expectancy by two to four years, while severe obesity shortens it by as many as 10 years. Obesity has been linked to higher instances of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and stroke. The cost of treating obesity-related illnesses was estimated at $147 billion in 2008.

    While the human body is programmed to crave sugars and fats, modern processing has created food with concentrated levels of sugars, unhealthy fats, and refined flour, which has none of the redeeming levels of fiber or nutrients. Consuming these foods in large quantities may be changing the way the brain is wired. And to some experts, those changes look a lot like addiction. Highly processed foods can cause rapid spikes and declines in blood sugar and increases cravings, according to David Ludwig, a Harvard researcher and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital Boston.

    A 2010 study, conducted by scientists at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, fed rats a host of unhealthy foods, including Hormel bacon, Sara Lee pound cake, The Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, and Pillsbury cake frosting. Through electrodes implanted on the rats, scientists measured activity in regions of the brain involved in registering rewards and pleasure.

    Rats with access to the junk food for one hour a day started binge eating, even when more nutritious food was available all day long. Rats with access to the junk food 18 to 23 hours per day became obese. According to Paul Kenny, the scientist leading the study, the results produced the same brain patterns that occur with escalating intake of cocaine.

    Human studies have showed reduced activity in the striatum, a region of hte brain that registers reward, among overweigh subjects. “A career of overeating causes blunted reward receipt, and this is exactly what you see with chronic drug abuse,” said Eric Stice, a researcher at the Oregon Research Institute.

    Don’t Miss: U.S. Companies Added 110K Jobs in October
    Despite the studies, the food industry is responding much differently. “We want to see profit growth and revenue growth,” said Tim Hoyle, director of research at Haverford Trust Co. in Radnor, Pennsylvania, an investor in PepsiCo, the world’s largest snack-food maker. “The health foods are good for headlines but when it gets down to it, the growth drivers are the comfort foods, the Tostitos and the Pepsi-Cola.”

    Wallstcheatsheet November 02 2011



  1. shivakiva2112
    I think a lot of the problem with obesity, at least in America, has to do with the relative costs of junk food and nutritious food such as fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the culture of convenience that has become so predominant in the country over the last 30 or 40 years. A can of coke costs $1, a bottle of water $1.50. High fructose corn syrup is the most used sweetening agent, partially hydrogenated oils are added to damn near everything. People's diets are so out of wack in large part because these foods are artificially cheap due to massive government subsidies on corn, soybeans, etc. Take away the subsidies, or change them to reflect changing societal needs, allow the price of McDonald's and Pepsi et al. products to increase to their natural market value and watch as poor people (the most obese socioeconomic strata) begin to purchase more actual food instead of the highly processed artificial food product that many live on. The reason this kind of thing upset me so much is because I am not obese, or even overweight (though I've definitely got some soft spots from too much Ben&Jerry's :D), and I'm going to be very upset if government legislation reduces the availability of junk/fast food to me. I make a habit out of eating lots of vegetables and cooking most of my meals, but every now and then I want my double quarter pounder with cheese or my frozen pizza dammit! Articles like this one are increasingly suggesting an undertone of impending doom for the purveyors of these products, implying that gub'mint is setting its sights on Big Food instead of Big Tobacco. This is not the right way to approach the issue and will likely cause a headache for the majority of non-obese people who can eat junk food responsibly.
  2. rawbeer
    ^^^ I agree somewhat but at the same time EVERYONE would be better off if these foods just didn't exist. I'm in the same boat - I eat pretty healthy and get plenty of exercise but I do love eating some real shit every now and then. Then again, I think the world would be a better place if fast food and junk food just went away. I mean, you can always make unhealthy food for yourself. I think the problem is how it's pushed on people.

    Fast food is borderline evil. They target poor uneducated people - some of McDonald's commercials seem to say "hey, you're a dumb black person, it's your cultural right to eat shit - don't be like those snooty, salad eatin' white folk who went to college!" Their radio commercials actually feature all sorts of heavy bass effects you wouldn't notice if your car didn't have a heavy bass system (like a LOT of black people where I live do).

    Add to that the hidden cost of fast food industry. When a 47 year old man serves me a burger and looks miserable, I can understand why. 50 years ago, these were high school kids' jobs, and older, uneducated guys worked factory jobs that paid living wages. But we've given up on manufacturing, outsourced it to third world slaves, and now we have a fast food industry so huge it's filled the gap with awful humiliating underpaying jobs. Again, the poor not only have to eat this shit they have to make it too.

    The response tends to be that these businesses are "giving the people what they want." This is bullshit. So are crack dealers by that logic. Fast food corporations are just as morally corrupt as drug dealers, more so perhaps because a lot of drug dealers won't sell to kids, whereas the goal of fast food chains like McDonalds is to hook kids when they can't make wise choices, get them used to eating shit, bait them with toys and happy clowns...obesity is the biggest health problem in the USA right now and it is 100% the fault of big business, not just fast food but TV producers, car manufacturers, and everyone else who has made us a society of sedentary, shit eating, myopic idiots who can't even find our way around the towns we live in without machines telling us how to.

    America is just a nightmare of commodification, we're even encouraged to commodify ourselves now, "sell yourself", you're a product. And everything sinks to the lowest level you can sell at. I really wish more people here would wake up and realize they've been sold out.
  3. LoveNwar
    Drug dealers don't advertise on TV, don't go to you (you go to them), Don't force you into buying anything that you aren't willing to buy yourself in the first place... I see no crime. Junk food sellers? that's another story...
  4. runnerupbeautyqueen
    Where I shop fresh produce is actually cheaper than most processed foods. If the fruits and veggies are in season they're usually pretty cheap. The perimeter of the grocery store usually has the best food and the best prices like produce and milk.

    Personally I think people should educate themselves and eat accordingly. Obesity isn't the fault of Mcdonalds or Pepsi or anyone except the person that decides to buy their products. Just because there are people who can't control their portions and exercise doesn't mean pringles should be banned. And the same could be said for crack dealers but I think it should be up to the person to educate themselves and if they decide they want to smoke a bunch of crack then I think they should be able to smoke a bunch of crack. As long as they do out of the eye of the public, away from kids, without having to steal the stuff out of my shed to support their habit.

    Basically I think it should be up to everyone what they want to put into their bodies. No one is forcing you to eat anything. People need to educate themselves, their children, and let me smoke my bacon wrapped crack.
  5. FearlessLink
    I think i'm in love. Lol.

    I agree. People do what they want to do and will continue to do so. Though, while it is up to the consumer whether they purchase the bacon wrapped crack, cigs, or whatever it may be, corporations are finding more and more ways to get to their consumers while they're young so as to set a trend in their lifestyle.

    If your lifestyle is unhealthy that's nobodies business, unless of course you are robbing beauty queen of her powertools kept in the shed.

    We should be able to eat, smoke, drink, and do whatever we please... as long as it doesn't cause harm to another individual. Harming yourself is all up to you. Who cares? Let the fat man eat three big macs a day. Let the crack smokers enjoy their DoC. So the kid was lured in with cheap toys or a way too happy creepy clown that perches upon a bench, endlessly waiting for that picture no one wants.

    Allow us all to do what we want as many of our constitutions and bills of rights declare.

    Damn the govt. for letting our rights go down the gutter on more than one level. And we have damned ourselves for letting it happen.
  6. FearlessLink
    I'd just like to add... Look at the guy in the picture. See how happy he is? That's his choice, and he's ecstatic to be able to make it. Is it a good choice? That's up for him to decide midway through his heart attack.

    I rest my case.
  7. Phungushead
    I live in a country where I have a right to abuse or neglect my own body if I feel like it.

    However (and this is just my opinion) the issue with the obesity epidemic isn't so much that there is unhealthy food everywhere, or that people are not being educated about healthy food in the first place - It's just that as a whole, people have an exceptionally difficult time refraining from temptations. Obesity is not just some kind of sudden, isolated problem that can be amended by prohibiting things here and there. Instead, it's just another symptom of the ultimate problem in this world - the human condition of suffering. It has people doing all sorts of ludicrous and unhealthy shit, for the sole reason that it is 'just so hard' for people to exist in this world. Different people, different vices is all.

    The United States is the land of addiction... the whole economy is fabricated on it. The average person has something in their life which is totally out of whack. Like mentioned above, this is just the human condition, and you can see it at its worst here. No other country has exploited human instability commercially to the same extent that the US has. It's the biggest economy in the world, specifically because compulsive behaviors such as overeating are so readily taken advantage of.

    The point is that the whole issue does not begin or end with any single person. Children are born into an atmosphere that is trying to get them addicted to shelling out money and consuming, and depending on the type of upbringing they happen to receive, a lot of them don't have a chance - It's all they know. The problem is much, much larger and far more complicated than any one person's self-control issues.

    Everyone suffers to some degree some kind of addiction or compulsion... To be fucked up in some way or another is completely normal. Obese people just happen to be unlucky enough to have the consequences of their imbalance and unhealthy behavior visible to everyone.
  8. Bad Rabbits
    Similarly to fatty foods, many (mainly artificial) additives have been shown to induce minor euphoria, and energy.

    We all know about kids that get a 'buzz' from consuming sweets, carbonated drinks etc...

    Heck, I even saw an article about kids in America snorting Aspartame based sweeteners for the energy rush it provided. I would have given it a go myself, if I wasn't the kind of person that advocates against the consumption of Aspartame.
  9. thatdude8848
    sugar packed candies, the real gateway drug!!!
  10. betwixt
    Oh I have known for years that over-eating and drug consumption are related somehow in the brain. I have seen people who are overweight and at the same time inject themselves with illegal substances. Then one asks? "How can you be a junkie if you are fat?...arn't all junkies skinny and with greasy hair?" No. The same reason drives an addict to abuse himself as it is for a morbidly or worse yet, a super-morbidly obese person to eat 3 burgers too many.
    Have you ever seen a picture of a super-morbidly obese person? (there is no stage after that, it's the fattest stage the human body is capable of acheiving without death. The stages are: Overweight, obese, morbidly obese etc)) It makes you wonder how on God's green earth did this obvious lost soul allow themselves to get so big! So large that they can't move, can't walk, can't bathe themselves. We are filled with a mixture of pity and repulsion at their plight. Yet the same could be said for addicts. Drug-addicts so enveloped in their 'disease' that they've got scars, abcesses, burns, brusies and anything else you can think of on their battered bodies.
    So yes I can see how Fatty foods have narcotic effects.
  11. Baritji
    I worked at Maccas when I was a kid. Pretty funny watching all the fat chicks come in, order a super sized double qp meal and ask for a diet coke. Still cracks me up.

    Food can be very addictive. If you're fat it's no one else's fault but your own! I'd rather be a skinny junkie than a fat pig anyway!
  12. RoboCodeine7610
    But why is this being treated as shocking news?It's been well-known for quote a while that fatty and sugary foods activaye the brain's reward pathway, tthe same effect addictve drugs have.

    And I think that prohibiting such foods would be like prohibiting sex for fear of sex addiction.

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