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Fatty foods trigger marijuana effect

Beware — new research suggests those burgers and fries could could be as addictive as the drug!

india Updated: Jul 16, 2011 01:15 IST

Impossible to keep your hands off those potato chips? Ahaan, it’s almost like marijuana! A new research says fatty foods trigger the body to produce a natural feel-good chemical similar to the effect of marijuana, which encourages overeating.

The US study, to be published this week in the journal proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that chemicals called endocannabinoids produce a drug-like feeling that can drive you to gorge on fatty foods such as chips and fries. In the study, researchers noted that sugary or high-protein foods did not have this effect.

French fries

“This is the first demonstration that shows endocannabinoid signaling in the gut plays an important role in regulating fat intake,” says researcher Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California.

Endocannabinoids were first unveiled years ago, when scientists researching the effects of marijuana discovered that the body can, under the right stimuli, create its own cannabinoids — molecules that set off reactions in the nervous system to reduce pain and anxiety.

While diving into a platter of fried food can stimulate this effect, The New York Times recently reported a healthier way to trigger your endocannabinoid system: a 2003 study from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that 50 minutes of vigorous running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike produced a “floaty, free-form sense of well-being,” aka runner’s high.

First Published: Jul 15, 2011 17:09 IST