Flickr photo by permanently scatterbrainedYour junk food addiction is a family joke no more. Scientists now say those Ring Dings have you right where they want you -- completely dependent.
Published in the newest edition of the medical journal Nature Neuroscience, the report notes rats who showed signs of obsession with junk food had decreased levels of a specific dopamine receptor in the brain. That same dopamine receptor is lacking in people who are addicted to certain drugs.
So if you're joking that the Big Mac is your drug of choice, you're not that far off.
In a report on Reuters, researchers actually compared the addiction to junk food to cocaine or nicotine.
Even when there were negative side effects to eating the unhealth food -- in the case of the rats, they were given minor electric shocks to the feet -- the compulsion to eat junk took over, and they literally ate through the pain.
Sound anything like an addict who announces, "I'm getting off the smack because it's killing me," then goes for another hit?
Personally, I'm glad they found this little bit of info -- as a recovering bulimic, it's always nice to have a little bit of science to explain that it isn't willpower alone that us not-so-skinny-minis need to back away from the bakery.
But the big question is: now what? Are they working on some way to help us fight our addiction?