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Offline Matthew

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Junk food-addicted rats choose to starve themselves
« on: August 17, 2010, 12:00:15 PM »
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  • Junk Food-Addicted Rats Chose to Starve Themselves Rather Than Eat Healthy Food
    August 17th, 2010

    Via: Natural News:

    A diet including unlimited amounts of junk food can cause rats to become so addicted to the unhealthy diet that they will starve themselves rather than go back to eating healthy food, researchers have discovered.

    In a series of studies conducted over the course of three years and published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Scripps Florida scientists Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny have shown that rats’ response to unlimited junk food closely parallels well-known patterns of drug addiction — even down to the changes in brain chemistry.

    “What we have are these core features of addiction, and these animals are hitting each one of these features,” Kenny said.



    Having established that the junk food rats had become addicted, Johnson and Kenny wanted to know how far this addiction would push them. So they took both junk-food addicted rats and rats that had not previously been exposed to such food, and exposed them to electrical shocks whenever they ate junk. Rats that had just been introduced to junk food quickly stopped eating it, while the addicted rats ignored the discomfort and kept eating.

    Perhaps the most shocking finding came when the researchers took away the addicted rats’ access to junk food and started feeding them only healthy rat chow again — the same diets the rats had eaten as pups. When junk food was no longer available, the rats simply refused to eat for two weeks.

    “They actually voluntarily starved themselves,” Kenny said.

    “It’s almost as if you break these things, it’s very, very hard to go back to the way things were before. Their dietary preferences are dramatically shifted.”
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    Offline CathMomof7

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    Junk food-addicted rats choose to starve themselves
    « Reply #1 on: August 18, 2010, 09:41:36 AM »
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  • I find this incredibly amazing and interesting.  I am experiencing this same type of behavior from my mother who is disabled and lives with us permanently.  For decades my mother has been a junk food addict.  The only real food she eats is basically unhealthy--fried or loaded with sugar and salt.  I have never in my life know her to actually cook a real meal.  She has provided childcare for 3 of our children when they were small and they all developed eating issues--our one son is STILL very picky after 5 years!  Two years ago, my mother had a bilateral hip replacement and went into the nursing home for recovery.  She lost 30 pounds in 9 months.  She refused to eat anything.  She drank only hot tea (loaded with sugar) and was fed protein drinks just to keep up her strength.  Over the years, I have limited the amounts of junk food we eat at home, but as of late, I have stopped buying it all together--no chips, crackers, cookies, or ice cream--except for special occasions or desert on Sundays.  My mother eats only this---bread with butter or Miracle Whip.  That's it.  When my aunt came to visit for a month, she bought chips, crackers, cookies, etc. and mother mother sat at night eating whole boxes of Cheese Nips and Wheat Thins.  I have seen her go without food for 3 or 4 days because there is no junk food.  In fact, she cried last night because she wanted potato chips and I don't have any in the house.  For dinner last night we had chicken stir fry with rice, peppers, baby carrots, broccoli, and snow peas.  It was delicious.  The children loved it, my mother snarled and begged for chips.  


    Offline Matthew

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    Junk food-addicted rats choose to starve themselves
    « Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 09:54:34 AM »
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  • In a recent video I watched, about a Los Angeles family surviving a collapse, I learned something related to this.

    Apparently a person will NOT necessarily "eat everything" when he's starving. That goes against the common myth, repeated by my mom countless times, that "if you were ever really starving to death, you'd eat bugs, you'd eat absolutely everything!"

    That sullen, picky teenager who lives on Chef Boyardee? You might have to watch him literally starve to death as he thumbs his nose up at the only food in the house (crushed bean meal, a snake, a squirrel, an unfamiliar stew, etc.)

    The post above (regarding rats starving themselves) lends extra weight to the above tidbit about people starving even with food present.

    Imagine the frustration when your own offspring refuses to live -- just because you didn't train him in his youth to mortify his sense of taste. It would be especially difficult because parents don't want to outlive their children. If your offspring choose to die, what does it matter if YOU live or die? Your proverbial "line" will end.

    Matthew
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    Offline MrsZ

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    Junk food-addicted rats choose to starve themselves
    « Reply #3 on: August 28, 2010, 03:33:19 PM »
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  • As I was thinking about this problem something occurred to me. I remember hearing about a cookbook for mother's of young children who wouldn't eat their vegetables or other types of healthy nutritious food.  The premise of the book was to "hide" the good food in some way.  I'm thinking of frying vegetables and providing tasty dip to start with ... things like that.

    I think if you looked up Jerry Seinfeld's wife's (I think her name is Jessica) cookbook on Amazon, that would get you started with books of that type.  I read about her book a few years ago because another author accused her of plaigerism for supposedly stealing recipes from her book of similar premise.  So, I'm not recommending her book, it's just the only name I can associate with this type of thing.   :confused1:

    Maybe there could be a transitional diet where you combine some aspects of the "food" your mother prefers with healthier food.  It could take some time but if she is getting some nutrition throughout the week, that would be better than none.

    God Bless.


    Offline wallflower

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    Junk food-addicted rats choose to starve themselves
    « Reply #4 on: August 28, 2010, 04:01:44 PM »
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  • This is not at all surprising. We weren't raised on a lot of junk compared to the rest of our family and friends, as my mom was one of the only women around who was home and cooked from scratch. We always had our own large garden so much of our food was "organic", although naturally we didn't term it that way, it was just the garden. But we did have junk as a supplement (snacks) quite regularly and I have continued that in my own home. I have often noticed the symptoms of addiction in myself. They are milder but they are there. The longer we go without junk in the house, the less we want it but that withdrawal period can be tough, especially on my husband who was raised on junk.

    I know the whole suit against McDonald's was seen as crazy because people make their own choices; but there's another side of me that thinks it's not so crazy because so many of these foods have addictive qualities, often purposely made that way by the companies (think MSG and God knows what else). I think they should be held accountable for selling garbage to people in the first place. If someone knows exactly what they are doing and does it anyway, that's one thing, but so many have no clue what is going on in the food industry and I feel badly for them. I am glad there are finally many "movements" out there making people more aware.


    Offline MaterDominici

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    Junk food-addicted rats choose to starve themselves
    « Reply #5 on: August 28, 2010, 07:02:17 PM »
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  • I need a cookbook on how to hide eggs -- lots of them -- in food. : ) Two of my eaters won't touch them but I'm supposed to eat 2 a day. We also have 8 chickens who are just starting to lay. The most egg-like thing the boys will eat is French toast, but that of course only takes 2-3 eggs to feed us all.

    I'm sure my eating habits would be much worse if it weren't for my grandparents. My parents were the 2 incomes and seldom to never any real homecooked food sort. Fresh produce was mostly a foreign concept in our house. However, my grandmother watched us after school, summers, holidays, etc and she had a garden and cooked meals from scratch. I also only ate lunch from the school cafeteria. While not the best for you food around, it certainly had more diversity than most bagged lunches. My other grandmother probably gets the credit for keeping me in milk and eggs. I was only with her a couple of weeks a year, but she didn't tolerate pickiness and milk/eggs were served pretty much daily.
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