Yale University scientists have found that when processed foods combine fat and carbs, they act like opioid drugs.
The researchers speculated that we can’t handle the simultaneous activation of fat- and carb-signalling pathways. They say that “one mechanism by which the modern food environment may promote overeating is by combining fat and carbohydrate to potentiate reward and therefore facilitate the transition to habitual responding as is observed in drugs of abuse.” Put more simply, our brains are hard-wired to enjoy and seek out foods with concentrated fat-carb content, like pastries, croissants, and French fries. The fat-carb content, often coupled with salt, makes it extremely difficult to control our intake of these foods. They are calorie-dense and we can eat large quantities without feeling full. Remember the potato chip ad, “bet you can’t eat just one?”
The findings are in press and will appear online in the journal Cell.