Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
DrugWarRant
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch

DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
facebooktwitterrss
March 2010
M T W T F S S
« Feb   Apr »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Archives

Authors

Cocaine and heroin no different than fatty food.

More words of wisdom from the rat-speakers.

Fatty foods may cause cocaine-like addiction

A new study in rats suggests that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin. When rats consume these foods in great enough quantities, it leads to compulsive eating habits that resemble drug addiction, the study found.

Doing drugs such as cocaine and eating too much junk food both gradually overload the so-called pleasure centers in the brain, according to Paul J. Kenny, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular therapeutics at the Scripps Research Institute, in Jupiter, Florida. Eventually the pleasure centers “crash,” and achieving the same pleasure–or even just feeling normal–requires increasing amounts of the drug or food, says Kenny, the lead author of the study.

“People know intuitively that there’s more to [overeating] than just willpower,” he says. “There’s a system in the brain that’s been turned on or over-activated, and that’s driving [overeating] at some subconscious level.”

Guess what. If I was a rat trapped in a cage, set to be experimented on until I died, I’d take all the heroin, cocaine, and fatty foods they gave me.

But I’m not a rat. I’ve got a pretty decent intellect, unlimited opportunities of interesting and stimulating activities and pursuits, a fairly strong sense of self-awareness, and, yes, some will-power.

And what about the scientists who work with the rats? They have access to all that cocaine and fatty food. Why aren’t they addicted?

Perhaps the real truth is that scientists cause cancer in white mice and that caged rats will become addicted to anything their handlers desire.

Oh, wait! Wait a second! Clear at the very bottom of the article almost hidden under a dozen advertisements within the text for health.com articles, is this tiny little disclaimer…

Although he acknowledges that his research may not directly translate to humans,

So why the huge picture of an upscale slice of cheesecake nicely on a plate with a raspberry garnish with the caption “Cheesecake and other fatty foods overload the pleasure centers in the brain.”?

Is that what they fed to the rats? No, of course not. It’s just typical bad journalism from the rat-speakers.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

34 comments to Cocaine and heroin no different than fatty food.

  • BruceM

    Much like how all overtly homophibic republicans are gay, like how all “moral” religious people are criminals, I have no doubt that all scientists involved in creating drug war propaganda are drug addicts (but they are “lab chemicals” rather than “street drugs” so it’s okay… it’s “different” than what criminal drug users do!).

  • Paul

    I would like to talk to you all today about a serious problem facing our society, our children, and our future.

    The problem is Food. Food is addictive–after all, quitting food cold turkey leads to serious withdrawal symptoms and eventually death in 100% of cases. Victims are introduced to food at extremely early ages, and they’re hooked for life.

    Food is so widespread and pervasive in our society that we can’t eliminate its abuse entirely, but we can take measures to reduce its negative impact.

    New York has recently taken the lead in banning a variety of the most seriously abused foods, and requiring food dealers to equip their vending locations with informational warning signs to help victims avoid high-dose food. Chicago has also taken measures, and state governments around the country are discussing tougher restrictions on harmful foods.

    We should get a lot more serious about food. The War on Drugs has shown the way, and can build on our successes there to find more effective ways to prosecute the War on Food. If we all work together, we can break America’s addiction to food and free our country from the scourge of this terrible addiction. Let’s starve together today for a better tomorrow!

    Brought to you by the Partnership for a Food Free America.

  • jhelion

    what was the study where the rats were given a large living area and did not “succumb” to the addictive offerings?

  • thelburt

    Rat Park

  • woodbutcher

    Cannabis consumers have warned middle america for yrs that one day the people harrassing us will come for you and your vices be that sex food or what ever.Because once a govt begins to protect people from them selves it becomes an obession.They want more and more control.We of course were laughed at and called names and accused of being paranoid and they said we where just stupid stoners and that in a free country the govt would never put a sin tax on certain foods or try to tell people what they can or can not eat. Now we have govt sanctioned and required health care coming . how long do you think it will be before those savings cards you use every day at the grocery store give your eating habits to every insurance company in the world and that info is used to determine what your eating habits are and how much you will pay for insurance.Or better yet before they tell you what food you can or can not buy.This wont happen over night but it will happen and of course it will be done to protect us from our selves and of course the children becuase SOME ONE has to think about the children and protect them from the cannabis and food boggey men..

  • permanentilt

    WAIT! All drug abusers started with food, FOOD IS A GATEWAY! We MUST BAN FOOD!

    I have been making the argument that fatty foods are addictive whenever someone tries to tell me that marijuana is addictive for some time, glad I can point to this study, no matter how flawed it is.

  • ezrydn

    Woodbutcher hit on something that’s very dear to me. Those “cards” at the grocery stores. I refuse to use them, period! And for only one reason. I don’t want anybody tracking what I personally buy. The stores say it’s to keep the stock better. Well, BS. My early family all had grocery stores. We bought more of what we ran out of. We didn’t need cards to see what people wanted. “Oh, they give you some discounts.” Well, it isn’t enough to put me on a tracking list.

  • amen ez! My ex and my kids told me I was nutz, since forever, for not doing the card thing. But now I see if i am crazy, at least i’m not alone. Whew…

  • damaged justice

    Observation: Fat plus sugar results in obsessive reward seeking behavior. Conclusion: Fat is addictive.

    See what carbs do to your brains, kids? Just say no.

    Brought to you by the four out of five government scientists who cause cancer in rats.

  • damaged justice

    And yes, the socialization of medicine doesn’t bode well for the decriminalization of drug or food rights. Your health, and everything you put into your body, will truly be everybody else’s business, and thus the business of the state’s armed enforcers.

    “You will jog for the master race
    And always wear the happy face…”

  • Just me

    Hey Allan and EZ , I jion you on the card thing…Not me no way, cash works just fine.

    On to the topic…

    Does this food ban me they will soon be banning harleys? I love mine , am I addicted? You bet ya! Does it cause health problems ? You bet ya! Bad posture , sore ass, achey knees , ankles that make funny noises, high heart rate, vision problems if you dont wear PPE, pissed off ol’ lady if ya get too happy bout riding it,on occasions alcohol comsumption goes up(opps gateway theory) Oh and dont lay it down. So are they going to ban them?

  • Just me

    Correction:(
    Does this food ban *mean*..

  • woodbutcher

    if you wish to use the discount cards you can continue for now by just not filling out the info with your real name and addy . i used william bennet’s [ former drug czar ] for one store and i used peter griffin for the other [ family guy] this will only work till they require a national id to make purchases and if you dont think they have that on the agenda i have some beutiful ocean front property for sale in kansas i would like to offer you .It may not happen in the boomers life span but i imagine it is on the drawing board

  • swansong

    “If I was a rat trapped in a cage, set to be experimented on until I died, I’d take all the heroin, cocaine, and fatty foods they gave me.”

    Is the author suggesting that the rats are self aware and are cognizant of the fact that they are rats, trapped in a cage to be experimented on for the rest of their lives?

    Also…if the rats will become addicted to whatever they are given, why, as more detailed printings of the findings state, will the rats, when removed from the fatty foods, rather starve than eat their former diets of healthier food?

    While I am the first to review new studies with a skeptical eye…the reviewer seems to take a rather knee-jerk view of these findings. Summarily dismissing anything, it seems, that comes from these ?ancer causing scientists”.

    Surely one can’t so easily dismiss the premise which, of course, is that high fat foods stimulate the same pleasure centers in the brain that are affected by currently illegal drugs.

    Frankly, if heart disease and stroke are the number one killers of North Americans (and they are) why the hell do we spend so much money tracking down many drug users when the real threat (apparently) comes from addictive diets, tobacco and alcohol??

  • Swansong:

    “If I was a rat trapped in a cage, set to be experimented on until I died, I’d take all the heroin, cocaine, and fatty foods they gave me.”

    Is the author suggesting that the rats are self aware and are cognizant of the fact that they are rats, trapped in a cage to be experimented on for the rest of their lives?

    Ah, you see my point, exactly. Rats are not people. They have differences in desires, in will power, in choices. To report such experiments, as the media does, as if they were proof of human inevitability, is irresponsible.

    Also…if the rats will become addicted to whatever they are given, why, as more detailed printings of the findings state, will the rats, when removed from the fatty foods, rather starve than eat their former diets of healthier food?

    Now you’re taking serious a clearly facetious remark (scientists in white coats cause cancer in rats? Come on.).

    I don’t dismiss the premise. I dismiss the breathless reporting of the latest thing the rats have done as if that explains everything. The “rat-speakers” in this case are the media.

  • somedude

    Actually I’ve heard of studies where food was worse than heroin. They put rats in cages and they were forced to chose food or herion. The rats became so addicted to food they chose it over herion. This study of course was hidden by the government by the request of the grocery industrial complex. To this day, kids continue to be addicted to food. They can’t even get through a school day without consuming it.

  • swansong

    “I don’t dismiss the premise. I dismiss the breathless reporting of the latest thing the rats have done as if that explains everything. The “rat-speakers” in this case are the media.”

    Fair enough…but still…I would think that a study like this would be welcome news (if ultimately proven irrevocably true) for all of us that have been saying for decades that criminalizing some drugs while allowing far more dangerous substances to be marketed and promoted to all, including and especially the youngest of our citizens, is the acme of hypocrisy.

    That is not to suggest that I would welcome the criminalization of fast food, however. Rather I would welcome a more honest discussion about where the real harms in our society lay.

  • truthtechnician

    Its extremely important to point out that this study does not include cocaine or heroin at all! It doesn’t even compare the severity of the effect to rats addicted to cocaine or heroin!

  • Hi Peter, your critique was a bunch tougher than mine. I thought your comment about being a rat was funny, and it reminded me of a book I’d read ~ 30 years ago. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM.

    (If you’re into reading kid’s books–possible spoiler alert; can’t say I’m spot on with the plot.) It seems those rats were quite aware, to the point where they were the ones in control, not the scientists. But of course the scientists thought they were the ones in control.

    I like this line the most “And what about the scientists who work with the rats? They have access to all that cocaine and fatty food. Why aren’t they addicted?” because one theme that weaves through drug warrior writing seems to be how they are so steeled against drugs, but the rest of us are all just waiting to try them; and how even the very presence of drugs is somehow damaging like radiation, you don’t even need to be aware they’re near by to be harmed, but drug warriors are somehow protected from being harmed by exposure to them, perhaps due to their intense vilification of them.

    Anyway, the reasoning I’ve heard — and I take all these things with a grain of salt — as to why sugary and fatty foods are “addicting” is not because of some pleasure center in the brain, but because those foods are so lacking in nutrition (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, etc…). And because that food is so lacking in nutrition, the body/brain keeps sending the signal “need food, feed me.”

    But I definitely understand (and feel) the frustration of being to so easily predict the drug warrior types misrepresenting the results.

  • swansong

    For another angle on this discussion…here is something that was recently passed along to me regarding the addictive qualities of MSG and the literal plethura of products in which it is contained.

    http://quality-of-life.ca/msg.htm

  • DavesNotHere

    “Fair enough…but still…I would think that a study like this would be welcome news (if ultimately proven irrevocably true) for all of us that have been saying for decades that criminalizing some drugs while allowing far more dangerous substances to be marketed and promoted to all, including and especially the youngest of our citizens, is the acme of hypocrisy.”

    Swansong, if we (responsible adults) regulated cocaine and heroin, instead of cartels and gangs, those regulations and laws could include provisions banning marketing and promotion. It is not a fair assumption to think if we ended the prohibition on cocaine and heroin (and whatever else you think is far more dangerous) that those substances would be sold like soda and chips, or even alcohol and tobacco.

    Also, Swansong, since you made the hypocrisy accusation, I’m going to ask you to back it up. Who in favor of legalization has proposed that we allow cocaine and heroin to be marketed and promoted to the “youngest of our citizens”?

    If you care about the youngest of our citizens, isn’t it hypocritical on your part to continue to allow cartels and gangs to promote their product to those kids without any regulation or control whatsoever, especially in light of the fact that we could require 16 hours of class time before providing those substances in the presence of trained medical professionals?

    Swansong, criminal prohibition, violence and war is the absolute worst way to protect kids. Regulation, education, scientific study, transparency, and continuous improvement is the best way to protect kids, when their parents fail, that is.

  • swansong

    To DavesNotHere…

    You need to re-read my post. You have totally misconstrued my position.

    I am not at all in favor of prohibition…on drugs or “food drugs”.

    My point was…why are we wasting time, money and lives on a war on drugs when there are apparently many more harmful products that we not only do not prohibit, but in many cases actually provide subsidies to the industries that create these “other” products.

    Is that more clear?

  • swansong

    “Also, Swansong, since you made the hypocrisy accusation, I’m going to ask you to back it up. Who in favor of legalization has proposed that we allow cocaine and heroin to be marketed and promoted to the “youngest of our citizens”?”

    Once again…since it was not readily apparent…what I spoke of was the mass marketing of fast food industries directed at “the youngest” of our citizens.

    I know that continually debating the hyperbolic rantings of drug warriors can make us all a little twitchy…but we can’t become so conditioned and prepared to argue that we are no longer able to incorporate new information or even able to recognize one of our own.

  • DavesNotHere

    I quoted it begin with and re-read it. You weren’t clear to me and I could only respond to what you said. Sorry. Glad we are clear now. Prohibition is bad. Transparency and education is good.

    As for fast food, as a tobacco connoisseur myself, I almost hope they start slapping taxes on burger, fries, and sodas at the same level as they do tobacco. I freely admit I am a complicated enough person to be hypocritical.

    A pound of tobacco costs about $2 to produce, and the tax on it is now $26 (Obama raised it from $2/lb to $26/lb). So if a burger costs $1 to produce, the tax should be $13 per burger. $.50 fries the tax should be $6.50, and the $.30 soda the tax should be $3.90.

    If we put an equivalent tax on burgers, fries, and sodas as to what Obama just put on tobacco, you’d have to add a tax of $23.40 to your burger, fries, and soda meal. A lot of smokers can’t afford $7/pack cigarettes shoved down their throats so they quit. A lot of people won’t be able to afford $30 for a fast food meal, so they will quit too. At least that tax would make up for some of the subsidies thrown around to the likes of ADM that supply them, you are right there.

    Just to give people an idea of how far people will take and have taken these social engineering ideas. You can’t ban fatty food. But you can tax the hell out of it without a peep from our sheep in this country.

  • damaged justice

    “You can’t ban fatty food. But you can tax the hell out of it without a peep from our sheep in this country.”

    I’d say that isn’t true. Take away people’s rights and you never hear a peep. But mess with their bread and circuses, especially when that’s all they have left? That’s asking to be torn apart by a mob.

  • swansong

    “smokers can’t afford $7/pack cigarettes.”

    Try 12.00 here in Canada…and our buck is close to par.
    Much like the people who say “go ahead and tax the hell out of cigarettes. I don’t care because I don’t smoke.”
    I say…go ahead and tax the hell out of junk food. I can live without it.

    Having said that…let’s all remember that it was a prohibitive tax that signaled the end of legal hemp/canabis. The marijuana tax act. A tax that effectively priced farmers out of the business of growing it.

    A prohibitive tax is just another form of prohibition and would create/maintain all the same problems.

    And I’m afraid damaged justice is correct. Try to get people to listen to, or care about, where their money comes from and how it’s created (out of debt), or the folly of the drug war and it’s like pulling teeth. Cancel Dancing with the Stars and they’d riot in the streets.

  • swansong – I’m totally in agreement with you in that the thrust of this study’s results is good news (particularly in that it somewhat demystifies the whole addiction thing and puts it the same category as desire to eat fatty food, which most people can understand.) Hence the headline.

    And then I admit I got a little schizophrenic in the post — I’ve seen these stories written over and over (usually about drug research)… the breathless sense of doom, the inevitability… the buried (if that) disclaimer at the end that the study doesn’t actually prove anything that the article has been proclaiming….

    The journalism offends me. It also offends me when “scientists” shop these stories to the press couched in unsupported provocative conclusions in order to get more publicity for their work.

    So I get a little bit testy whenever the rats show up.

  • damaged justice

    We’re “driven” to eat fat because it’s frigging necessary to SURVIVE:

    http://nutrition-and-physical-regeneration.com/blog/182/government/why-the-state-hates-cholesterol/

  • Revolution Starter

    I think the study is actually excellent and it outlines what we are seeing in society in general.
    People can be very stupid animals and abuse things that they find pleasurable or at least do them often enough to illicet an unwated effect.

    Sugar and fatty food has caused an hudge strain on our society, far larger than any illeagal drug and in fact in competition with tobacco and alcohol in terms of adverse affects.

    People often over look the powerfull effects that food has, but if you change how you eat and eat only for function rather than desire you will soon understand. I think that this is an excellent study that shows us that things that we take for granted and even give to our childeren ( like fast food ) can be as or more dangerous than something that most consider to be dangerous or at very least taboo and I will use cocaine as that example.

    This study could be an excellent introduction to people who believe in prohibition so that they can maybe realize on yet another level that everything in our society is based on desire and feeling, drugs are no different and any drug can be used responsibly. Many foods do indeed illicet a drug like responce in the pleasure areas of the brain, which is the reason that people eat them so often which then becomes the reason for obesity dibeaties ect. It is very clear that people who are over weight are infact abusing food. You can take that how you chose but just like anything if the person were edjucated enough to understand the chemical reactions that take place in there body at times when they are hungery and the changes that occur from injesting various foods and there individual goal both for health and for apeariance, they would be able to decide if eating what they “want” would be best or eating to provide the oganism with what it requires to further progress towards a goal. That is realy nothing more than an example of the decision making process that would benniffit people more often then not. weather we are talking about food, cigaretts or, cocaine.

    This is something that I have known for years and frankley am a little supprised at the aproach people are taking on this. While I understand the perspective being taken i think we realize that we should not limit peoples freedom but that it may be reasonable to tax a comodity based upon its actual impact on our society. fatty and high sugar foods certinly have a detrimental impact on society and in my opinion should be taxed like other substances that do as well like cigarettes and alcohol. Illeagal drugs have a fars less signifigant impact and when used appropriatly they can be used with little detriment to the health of the individual. Though that isnt to say I dont think that they should be taxed.

    That all said, the behaviors of animals in cages can be manipulated by almost anything, but there is validity to these findings. Just not the way people seem to be taking them.

    Revolution-Starter

  • swansong

    “So I get a little bit testy whenever the rats show up.”

    I completely understand and appreciate your candor 🙂

    Btw…as an aside…I really like the format of this forum. I just found this place yesterday as I was looking for commentary on the study and I will definitely be spending some time here.

    Cheers,

  • denmark

    Another mice study Pete.

    A high-fat breakfast of bacon and eggs may be the healthiest start to the day, report shows

    For the first meal eaten after a night’s sleep appears to programme the metabolism for the rest of the day, the researchers found. …

    The study, published online March 30 in the International Journal of Obesity, examined the influence exerted by the type of foods and specific timing of intake on the development of metabolic syndrome characteristics in mice. The UAB research revealed that mice fed a meal higher in fat after waking had normal metabolic profiles. In contrast, mice that ate a more carbohydrate-rich diet in the morning and consumed a high-fat meal at the end of the day saw increased weight gain, adiposity, glucose intolerance and other markers of the metabolic syndrome.

    http://bit.ly/bbDnwz

    It’s only one page, got the heads up from:
    http://tobaccoland.blogspot.com/

  • Yup – all them science-type guys are clearly idiots who cannot design a useful experimental protocol, whereas you with your anti-intellectualism and good ole horse sense are a thousand times smarter than mere book-larnin will make ya.

    Geez. You you really imagine that people doing biomed research are not aware of exactly these kinds of issue?

  • damaged justice

    Paul: So you think it makes sense to combine fat and sugar, and then blame the fat?

  • Paul, perhaps you missed the part where those science-type guys agreed with me:

    Although he acknowledges that his research may not directly translate to humans,

    What I’m really railing against here is the publicizing of conclusions that aren’t fully supported by the data, not the design of the experimental protocol.

    Although even then, there’s nothing wrong with a little horse-sense suspicion, given some of the disastrous scientific experiments like Ricaurte’s Ecstasy research, where he accidentally used meth instead of MDMA. Or the famous Gabriel Nahas rat experiment that showed marijuana killing brain cells in rats, when it turned out that the method they used for administering the massive amounts of marijuana was suffocating the rats, causing the brain cell death. And then there are those researchers who depend on government funding for their livelihood, who can be prone to seeing things a particular way.

    So yes, I am willing to question those science-type guys and take a close look at their protocols. In this case, I did not have access to the data, so I didn’t. I took the word of the scientist himself that the data did not support the conclusions drawn in the article.