Food and Behaviour Research

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21 Sept 2012 - MNT - Chocolate Gorging Linked to Opium Chemical in Brain


A new brain study suggests an opium-like chemical may drive the urge to gorge on chocolate candy and similar fatty and sweet treats.

Researchers discovered this when they gave rats an artificial boost with a drug that went straight to a brain region called the neostriatum: it caused the animals to eat twice the amount of M&Ms they would otherwise have eaten.

The team also found that when the rats began to eat the chocolate-coated candies, there was a surge in enkephalin, a natural opium-like substance that is produced in the same region of the brain.

Alexandra DiFeliceantonio of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in the US, and colleagues, write about their findings in a paper published online on Thursday in the journal Current Biology.