Print 50 comment(s) - last by JPForums.. on Sep 27 at 2:43 PM

  (Source: Times of India)
Now we can finally acknowledge we have a cocoa problem

Perhaps it's time to add chocolate alongside alcohol and tobacco to the lists of legal drugs in America.

A new study by University of Michigan neuroscience student Alexandra DiFeliceantonio chronicles how chocolate locks the rodent brain into a cycle of addiction, joy, and despair, much like other drugs.

She found that during consumption of M&Ms rats produced a naturally occurring (endogenous) opioid-receptor binding compound called enkephalin.  The compound binds to similar reward circuitry as notoriously addictive drugs such as a heroine and morphine.  The enkephalin levels primarily spiked in an inner region of the brain called the neostriatum.

Why is this important?  She explains that this region of the brain is linked to addiction in humans, commenting, "The same brain area we tested here is active when obese people see foods and when drug addicts see drug scenes.  It seems likely that our enkephalin findings in rats mean that this neurotransmitter may drive some forms of overconsumption and addiction in people."

Natural genetic variation may lead some people to become more severely addicted to chocolate than others, too, the study indicates.  When dosed with extra enkephalin -- similar to the case of a genetic-based overproduction -- the rodents gobbled down twice as many M&Ms, throwing reserve to the wind.

Rat w/ M&M
Rats show signs of chemical addiction when fed chocolate. [Image Source: Alexandra DiFeliceantonio]

In the human brain, enkephalins have been linked to risky behavior and thoughts of desire.

She writes in the study that the chocolate-triggered compound may be responsible for "generating intense pathological levels of motivation to overconsume."  In other words, maybe that's why you couldn't stop yourself at half your chocolate candy bar or put down that jumbo-sized bag of peanut M&Ms after the suggested serving was consumed.

Chocolate circuitry
Chocolate triggers opioid pathways in the rodent brain. [Image Source: Current Biology]

While some may take news of their chocolate addiction quite badly, Ms. DiFeliceantonio suggests that by better understanding its addictive role on neurochemicals researchers can help people break self-destructive "systems" of overconsumption that exist in the brain.

The new research is published [abstract] in the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology.

Sources: U of M [via Eurekalert], Current Biology

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RE: Not a pure test of chocolate...
By bah12 on 9/25/2012 5:22:44 PM , Rating: 2
Your answer to this problem?
Insuranrce rates based on BMI? I chuckle at the high fructose retards...too funny. It's not the corn syrup its the fork in fatty's hand. You know how I know this without having to run a bunch of "studies", because stomache reduction surgery works. Surgically remove the pigs ability to stuff their face, and he/she will lose weight. Imagine that eat less, lose weight.

RE: Not a pure test of chocolate...
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/26/2012 6:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
Except, the surgery doesn't mean they will keep the weight off. It's a stop gap. My cousin, many many years ago, was HUGE, over 500 pounds, she had the surgery, she didn't stay that way, she is BIGGER now then she was when she had the surgery.

By JPForums on 9/27/2012 2:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
I think he was talking about stomach (as in the organ) reduction surgery, not liposuction. This severely limits how much you can eat. It can stretch back out, but to a more limited extent. If this is the type of surgery your cousin had, then she has an impressive determination to be overweight.

By JPForums on 9/27/2012 2:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
I chuckle at the high fructose retards...too funny. It's not the corn syrup its the fork in fatty's hand.
Actually high fructose corn syrup does affect your body more negatively than sugar. That said, it is still overeating that is the problem. You just have to put down the spoon little sooner than with sugar.

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