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Originally published September 29 2012

Is ice cream really as addictive as cocaine?

by Brad Chase

(NaturalNews) In March 2012, the British news source, Daily Mail, ran a story that stated ice cream was as addicting as cocaine. The article quoted the well-respected American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which had published a study performed at the Oregon Research Institute just days before.

The clinical study reported that people build up a tolerance to ice cream in the same way they build up a tolerance to addictive drugs such as cocaine. The high fat and sugar content in ice cream causes chemical changes in the brain. When a person overeats fatty and sugary foods, there is a downgrade in the brain's pleasure center.

This tolerance for the food is very similar to what happens to drug addicts. Just as it takes more of the drug to achieve the previous satisfaction level, it also takes more food for the junk food lover to feel satisfied.

Is ice cream really 'addictive like drugs'?

PubMed Health took issue with Daily Mail's claim that ice cream was addictive, and analyzed the AJCN research study.

The study measured the brain activity of 151 healthy teens as they drank ice cream milkshakes. The scientists discovered that teens that had eaten ice cream within the past two weeks did not have the level of pleasure signals in the brain as the teens that had not eaten ice cream in the past two weeks. This reduced reward sensation was said to be similar to that of a drug addict.

There were no comparisons between ice cream eaters and cocaine users; nor were there any participants who were both drug users and ice cream eaters, to compare brain pleasure signals in individuals while they performed both activities. There were no control groups.

In addition, the researchers stated as their purpose to discover if obese people developed tolerances to certain pleasurable foods. However, all of the participating teens had a healthy weight.

Is it OK to eat ice cream then?

Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian and manager of Nutrition Services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, states that it is acceptable to have a scoop of ice cream every once in a while, such as during a special occasion. Unless a person has a food allergy, the occasional indulgence in a small serving of ice cream is no problem.

Ice cream, pizza, and other unhealthy foods become a problem when they are consumed regularly. The problems increase dramatically when healthy habits such as large volumes of vegetables, exercise, meditation, and cooking your own meals are ignored.

Kirkpatrick also warned readers to watch serving sizes, especially at self-service restaurants. The American Journal of Preventative Medicine published a 2003 study conducted at Cornell noting that when either larger serving containers or serving spoons are offered at restaurants or special events, people routinely serve themselves more food, especially ice cream, than when they are offered smaller bowls and smaller serving utensils.


Daily, "Ice cream 'could be as addictive as cocaine', as researchers reveal cravings for the two are similar" cravings-2-similar.html#ixzz26r5A2MlT, "Is ice cream really 'addictive like drugs'?

Huffington, "Five things this dietitian would never eat," by Kristen Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, American Journal of Preventative Medicine. 2006 Sep; 31(3):240-3. "Ice cream illusions bowls, spoons, and self-served portion sizes." Wansink B, et al.

About the author:
Brad Chase is the President of His website provides articles and natural remedies to help people solve their health concerns.

Brad Chase is the President of His website provides articles and natural remedies to help people solve their health concerns.

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