A recent study involving 151 teenagers has proven that ice cream, specifically Häagen Dazs, shares "addictive-like properties" with illegal drugs like cocaine.
After questioning their eating habits, scientists at the Oregon Research Institute used a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machine (fMRI) to scan the brains of 14 and 16-year-old kids as they were shown pictures of delicious chocolate milkshakes.
They were then given the pictured Häagen Dazs milkshake. While every participant desired to have the milkshake, the brain scans revealed that those who ate ice cream more often in past weeks enjoyed eating it less.
Lead researcher Dr. Kyle Burger explained his findings by saying:
"This down-regulation pattern is seen with frequent drug use, where the more an individual uses the drug, the less reward they receive from using it. This tolerance is thought to increase use, or eating, because the individual trying to achieve the previous level of satisfaction. Repeated, overconsumption of high-fat or high-sugar foods may alter how the brain responds to those foods in a way that perpetuates further intake."
Basically, just like drug addicts are constantly chasing the euphoria they felt the first time they experienced the addictive drug, some ice cream eaters may be doing the same by "continually trying to match the earlier experience."
Addiction will not affect everyone in the same manner, however, as Dr. Burger continued:
“Some individuals may frequently eat ice cream or other high-fat/high-sugar foods and show no characteristics of addiction, while others may develop an addictive like relationship with food. Some people will try smoking, drinking or gambling, but not develop an addiction. We often joke and say ‘I wouldn't say food is addictive, but I hear some people can't live without it’.”
More research is needed into the the correlation between our brain and food intake, but Dr. Burger concluded that the brains of those regularly eating more ice cream than others release a lower amount of dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure. To make up for this biological reaction, participants felt they needed to eat more ice cream, a habit that could lead to obesity.