ARE FATTY FOODS ADDICTIVE?

The Sunday Times of London inaccurately stated: "The addictive nature of fatty foods has been established by researchers at Rockefeller University in New York who found that regularly eating the products can quickly reconfigure the body's hormonal system to want yet more fat. They also found that early exposure to fatty food could influence children's choices so that they would always seek a similar diet, increasing the likelihood of obesity in later life."

The next day, Rockefeller University denied that they had ever reported such a study. They stated: "No scientist at Rockefeller University has conducted research establishing the 'addictive nature of fatty foods' in either humans or lab animals. The Sunday Times article possibly may be referring - inaccurately - to Sarah F. Leibowitz's laboratory animal studies on the neurobiology of nutrient balance and body weight regulation in rats and mice at Rockefeller. Leibowitz's research focuses solely on the chemical signals to the brain that arise from diet. According to Leibowitz's research, the brains of rats fed a high-fat diet have higher than normal levels of certain brain chemicals called peptides that in turn stimulate feeding behavior, specifically an increase in the animals' consumption of fats. A high-fat diet, therefore, influences the response of brain chemicals in rats. However, Leibowitz has not shown this result in humans (whom she does not study as part of her research), and she makes no claims that fatty foods are addictive in either lab animals or humans."

Sunday Times, July 13, 2003

Checked 9/1/05

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