So, apparently chocolate is like a drug. Nothing we haven’t thought of before, right? Well, now we have scientific proof. A new study was published online on September 20 in Current Biology, as reported by Science Daily News, that reveals experiments on rats could finally explain why we feel the urge to binge-eat all the chocolate we can get our hands on — and how the same chemical is released in the brain when a drug addict sees drugs.
Our desire to binge on these overtly sweet and high fat chocolate goodies can be linked to a part of the brain, the neostriatum, that produces a chemical like opium (yowza!) called enkephalin. Alexandra DiFeliceantonio and researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor found that enkephalin was produced when their lab rats ate M&M’s; this chemical gave them the impulse to eat a considerable amount more. Enkephalin doesn’t make you like chocolate, but it does give you that desire to binge-eat it all. Been there, done that.
The neostriatum in the brain had only previously been correlated with movement, but now it could provide insight into a wealth of information about our urges to over-eat. DiFeliceantonio says, ”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.”
These rats may be able to give us the answer as to why one Hershey’s Kiss isn’t enough — and even better, could lead to more information about over-eating and cravings in general. I’d sure like to know more!
Lovelies, what do you think about this study? Is it finally giving us the answer or do we over-eat chocolate because, well, we love it? Share below!