By Ryan Jaslow
People may joke they're addicted to desserts, but new brain imaging research shows there may be some truth to the statement.
Researchers have found eating highly-processed carbohydrates like cakes, cookies and chips could affect pleasure centers in the brain, leading to serious cravings that might cause people to overeat.
"Beyond reward and craving, this part of the brain is also linked to substance abuse and dependence, which raises the question as to whether certain foods might be addictive," study author Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital, said in a press release.
Our brains consist of a complex network of pathways and regions that control for all our bodily functions. Chemical messengers called neurotransmitters allow signals to pass from one nerve cell to the next to aid in these functions.
One neurotransmitter, dopamine, plays a major role in the brain's reward pathways. For example, the brain gets flooded with dopamine when people take addictive drugs including cocaine and nicotine.
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