Fatty foods literally get you high

While it might not be news to anyone that's ever obliterated a Bloomin' Onion in minutes, new research has discovered that fatty foods trigger the production of a natural feel-good chemical in the brain similar to the effects of marijuana.

These chemicals, called "endocannabinoids," produce a drug-like feeling that can drive people to consume large amounts of fatty foods like chips and fries. Curiously, sugary or high-protein foods did not have this effect, so the manic high you get from a Pixie Stix binge is literally a different kind of buzz than the lethargic one you get from mozzarella sticks. (Quick side note, if Pixie Stix are meth, and fatty foods are marijuana, does that make steak heroin?)

Endocannabinoids were discovered years ago when researchers were looking into the effects of marijuana and discovered that, under the right circumstances, the body can produce its own cannabinoids, molecules that set off reactions in the nervous system to reduce pain and anxiety.

Interestingly, a 2003 study demonstrated that fifty minutes of vigorous running or cycling can trigger the release of endocannabinoids, producing the much-vaunted "runner's high" that still hasn't enticed me into going jogging.

Predictably, researchers are more interested in blocking the reception of endocannabinoid signals to get people to stop gorging on fatty foods. What a buzzkill. (Ha!)

As interesting as I find research like this, I'm always a bit stunned that the collective reaction isn't a resounding "no shit." I guess it's cool that we know fatty foods produce a literally addictive high, but I know that from late-night Wendy's runs, and I've been lobbying unsuccessfully to have that research published for years. 

Commentarium (6 Comments)

Jul 07 11 - 12:23pm

Yes, the war on fatty foods begins...or, they'll have fatty food dispensaries and we'll have to have prescriptions!

Jul 07 11 - 1:32pm

when fatty foods are outlawed, only outlaws will be fatties.

Jul 07 11 - 2:26pm

Sorry, I tried to read this article but I was too distracted by the ravenous craving for onion rings spurred by that photo.

Jul 07 11 - 2:27pm

Makes em easier to identify.

If all outlaws are fatties, will that make it badass to be fat? Will rebellious rich girls start dating fat people to piss their dads off? Sounds like the plot of a teen movie.

Jul 07 11 - 2:52pm

"People feel good when they eat fatty foods. Let's prevent them from feeling good."
What a depressing solution to that problem.

Jul 22 11 - 5:42am

I can't believe you're not playing with me--that was so heulfpl.