Ice Cream May Lose It’s Taste With Repeated Consumption

Courtesy Photo: Although not a drug, Ice Cream can have addictive properties

Johnna Keever
The Paw Print

You eat it on a hot day, but if you eat it every day can it send signs to your brain like drugs?
Research shows that ice cream and drugs have something in common.  With drugs the addictive feeling over time gets less pleasurable and a person craves it more and more.  The effect has been associated to the lowered density of specific versions of cellular receptors for the brain chemical dopamine.  It’s as if the constant stimulation has dulled the ability to enjoy eating ice cream.  

Kyle Burger and Eric Stice researchers at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene tested whether eating ice cream very often would result in the brain wanting more and more of it before sending signals that it’s an enjoyable treat.  They surveyed 151 adolescents about their food cravings and then scanned their brains while showing them images of chocolate milkshake to see how strong their cravings were.  They also measured the teenager’s brain activity when they drink a tasteless liquid as a comparison.  Then the teenagers were given a milkshake; the ones that had eaten more ice cream over the previous two weeks enjoyed the shake less.  The scan showed less activity in the area of the brain associated with reward.
The results of the study showed the researchers that when people consume more unhealthy food it would create a tolerance to it.  “We believe that means the more an individual is consuming a high fat, high sugar and high energy food, they develop a tolerance of it in a similar fashion that you see happening with drug addiction or alcohol addition,” said Burger one of the researchers.  All the teenagers were at a healthy weight, since it is showing that the changes in the brain are happening well before obesity sets in.  Some researchers have other opinions about the issue of addiction of high fat foods.  “Hyper- rewarding food cause changes in the brain akin to what we see with tobacco and alcohol.  Meaning that food addiction is not open and shut observation, but our food environment preys on people by manufacturing food designed to amp up rewards and vulnerable people can become addicts” said Ashley Gearhardt a Yale psychology PhD candidate who also conducted research using milkshakes.
The differences in brain activity also seem only associated with ice cream- not any other un healthy foods like hamburgers, French fries, or chocolate, and the researchers still don’t have answers why.  “The effects of ice cream on the reward center of the brain seem to mimic those from drugs,” says burger and added that the study does not suggest that ice cream is addicting.
“I personally do not say food is addictive I say energy-dense food, high sugar food, can elicit neural responses during consumption that parallel those seen in drug addiction.  So it have addictive like properties,” said Burger    When the summer comes, and the hot days set in, make sure when you’re craving ice cream not to eat too much at once.  You might not get addicted to it, but it might lose some pleasure when consuming it a little too often. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet