Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Warning: That Cone Could Be Habit-Forming

A new study looks into the brain activity behind ice cream cravings.

ice cream

Photo: Rudy Lorejo (Flickr)

I scream, you scream, we all scream...

Diminishing Returns

Jonesing for a scoop of ice cream? You could be addicted.

Researchers at Oregon Research Institute recently analyzed the neurological response of 151 adolescents to eating Häagen-Dazs milkshakes. What the scientists discovered — with the help of fMRI technology — is that regions of the brain responsible for enjoyment became less active with each dose of rich, chocolatey goodness.

Like Crack?

Alarmingly, this tendency parallels the diminished pleasure drug users experience as their synapses numb to the presence of habit-forming substances. It is this desensitization that drives addicts to consume in ever-increasing amounts.

While the jury is still out over whether or not people can be truly hooked on sugary and fatty foods, these findings might give consumers more reason to avoid the frozen desserts aisle.

Read More:

  • Can you get addicted to ice cream? Maybe, study shows (MSNBC)
  • Researchers say there are similarities between ice cream and crack (9News)
  • Drug Addiction (CareFlash)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

View all posts by this author »

  • Rudy Lorejo

    dis my pic

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media