Quitting junk food and withdrawing from drugs are very similar. According to new studies, a diet high in fat and sugar produces the same (not all but enough to matter) effects as stopping drugs all at once. This is a reason why many dieters want to diet and lose weight, but simply can’t fight the urges. Similar to a withdrawal from drugs, there are brain chemistry changes that take months to overcome.

Researchers in Canada found this out by putting mice on a junk food diet. For 6 weeks, the mice were eating a diet that consisted of 58 percent calories fat, while the other group of mice was eating a diet around 11 percent calories from fat. At the end of the 6 weeks, the mice eating the high fat diet gained 11 percent on their waste size, while the other mice stayed about the same. Once the mice on the high fat diet were switched over to the healthier, 11 percent calories from fat diet, they became anxious and depressed; similar to a recovering addict.

The next part of the study was to look at the brains of the mice; there were significant changes to the brains of the mice on the high fat diet. The mice on the high fat diet had increased corticosterone, a hormone that relates to stress and CREB, a protein the relates to dopamine. Similar to hard drugs, dopamine causes the body to feel reward, and without the presence of the high fat food, the body stays in a perpetual state of depression.

Of course, the diet high in fat, mimics a human diet based on high fat. A high fat diet is synonymous with junk food. I hate being dependent, or at least my brain thinking that I am dependent upon a substance. Just because the substance is fat, it seems like a good idea to stay away. Obviously I will still be partaking in Friday pizza days at the office, but the rest of the week, I am going to pack my own lunch.   

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