Snack Scares

Are you a junk food junkie – literally? 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Can’t get enough of those Twinkies? It might not JUST be about the fluffy cake and creamy filling. Eating junk food makes us crave even MORE snacks between meals! But WHY? 

Ryan Grippo from the University of Virginia wondered. To investigate, his team of researchers fed some mice a healthy diet. Other mice got twenty-four-seven, all-you-can-eat junk food galore! 

Results? The mice that had access to a Las Vegas style buffet gained weight! But they also started snacking at ALL hours. This disrupted their normal sleep schedule, leading to EVEN MORE weight gain. 

Grippo’s team believes dopamine – a chemical related to pleasure, reward, and addiction – is the culprit. High calorie foods bring pleasure, making mice crave more grub. 

Sound familiar? That Double-Double might be the reason for your midnight fridge raids! It’s your BRAIN that’s giving you the muffin top! 

So snacks are out. But what does science say about…“Elevensies”?