New laboratory research provides another reason to stay away from the cookies and punch bar this holiday season, as researchers find that merely going on a diet can feel like drug withdrawal to some.
University of Montreal researchers say the analogy to symptoms of drug cravings are in fact an appropriate description of dietary feelings because eating fatty and sugary foods causes chemical changes in the brain.
Researchers used a mouse model to study behaviors and emotions demonstrated during dieting.
“By working with mice, whose brains are in many ways comparable to our own, we discovered that the neurochemistry of the animals who had been fed a high fat, sugary diet were different from those who had been fed a healthy diet,” says Dr. Stephanie Fulton.
Fulton explained, “The chemicals changed by the diet are associated with depression . A change of diet then causes withdrawal symptoms and a greater sensitivity to stressful situations, launching a vicious cycle of poor eating.