A new study has suggested that junk food not only causes weight gain but will also reduce your appetite for foods that you really should be eating.
What did the study involve?
For 2 weeks the team of researchers looked at how rats raised on a healthy diet were affected by junk food.
Healthy male rats were exposed to 2 different sound cues that were related to either cherry or grape sugar water.
The rats also had their diets changed to include 150% more calories, with cafeteria food such as pie, dumplings, cookies and cake all being added to their diet.
What was the conclusion?
After the 2 week time period of unhealthy eating the rats gained an extra 10% in weight, with noticeable behavioural changes.
For instance, their capacity to overindulge returned and they were less picky with their food choices.
Even when returned to their previous healthy diets their preference for this diet did not return, instead their less healthy food choices were preferred.
The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, with lead researcher and Head of Pharmacology from the School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Australia, Professor Margaret Morris stating:
“The interesting thing about this finding is that if the same thing happens in humans, eating junk food may change our responses to signals associated with food rewards.”
“It’s like you’ve just had ice cream for lunch, yet you still go and eat more when you hear the ice cream van come by.”
The Australian research team who undertook this research believe that junk food can change the brain reward circuit of the rat, especially the decision-making area known as the orbitofrontal cortex.
As a humans brain reward circuit is similar to that of a rat, it is believed that humans will also suffer the same issue, whereby they are unable to control their overindulgences.