Think you’re addicted to ice cream? New research says it may be possible.
In fact, that hankering you have for Häagen Dazs may parallel an addict’s cravings for drugs – at least in terms of what happens in the brain -- according to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
To test the idea that ice cream can be addictive, Oregon Research Institute researchers served 151 teens chocolate milkshakes made with Häagen Dazs over a period of several weeks and monitored the activity in the “pleasure centers” of their brains.
Researchers sought to determine if the kids would derive less pleasure from the milkshakes over time the more they consumed – in the same way addicts crave increasing doses of drugs to feel satisfied.
What the study showed was that kids who ate the most ice cream enjoyed it less over time -- as reflected in lowered activity in the brain’s reward centers – and they tended to crave it more.
“Milkshake receipt robustly activated the [brain’s pleasure centers], yet frequent ice cream consumption was associated with a reduced response to milkshake receipt in these reward-related brain regions,” they concluded. “Our results provide novel evidence that frequent consumption of ice cream, independent of body fat, is related to a reduction in reward-region responsivity in humans, paralleling the tolerance observed in drug addiction.”