Late Junk Food Cravings Similar To Drug And Gambling Addictions

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The urge to eat junk food snacks later at night may be the result of neural responses linked with addiction, according to a new study from researchers at Brigham Young University. For the study the researchers carried out MRIs on 15 otherwise healthy women who claimed to crave high calorie snacks late at night.

They took over three-hundred brain images of each woman and found that their neural response when shown images of high calorie foods like ice cream and fast food was similar to the brain response of drug and gambling addicts.

"In the evening, reward pathways are showing a reduction," the lead author of the study, Travis Masterson, told CBS News. "Food is not as appealing, but people keep eating because they're trying to get that same high or same satisfaction from eating food that they get during the day."

"They should have been less hungry at night because the fasting period was shorter," Masterson said. "We know that there is something going on here."

Masterson also suggested those with strong cravings "pay attention to how much food and advertisements you're seeing in the morning and remember that things aren't as satisfying at night."

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