Previous studies have shown that food addiction — and fat and sugar's ability to trigger powerful chemical reactions — is not that much different from how cocaine affects the brain. Now, new dietary fat research is furthering that claim, finding that high-fat foods may trigger a response similar to marijuana.
Published in the July 5 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists found that when rats taste fat, their brains release endocannabinoids, which is the body’s version of the active ingredient in marijuana. In previous research, endocannabinoids have been linked with binge eating. In the study, when the rats were given a drug to block the endocannabinoids, the rats stopped overeating.
Although more dietary fat study is needed — especially research done on humans, including if different types of fat affect the body differently — the study's authors believe that this new information could be key to helping find new ways to inhibit overeating. In the meantime, remember this one thing the next time you reach for a fatty meal or snack: It just might prompt you to have the munchies!