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Researchers Search For Mechanism In Brain That Encourages Snacking To Excess

April 11, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Can’t stop eating those potato chips once you get started? Blame it on “hedonic hyperphagia,” a scientific term for recreational eating that goes well beyond the need to satisfy hunger. Turns out, hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer from it, though it keeps the snack food and confectionery industries in the black. German scientists who have been studying the phenomenon in rats using magnetic resonance imaging report that the reward and addiction centers in the brain record the most activity when the animals eat chips or chow. But the food intake, sleep, activity and motion areas are stimulated significantly differently when the rats eat potato chips. The next step is to find the ingredient in snacks that stimulates the brain.
"Revealing the scientific secrets of why people can’t stop after eating one potato chip", News release, National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, April 11, 2013, © American Chemical Society
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