A new study has confirmed what many people already believed - junk food can be addictive.
In the two-month long study, rats which were allowed to gorge on foods rich in sugar and fat put on weight, and also become "anxious" when this food was replaced.
University of South Australia post-graduate student Zhi Yi Ong found her test subjects would also opt to go hungry rather than eat a healthier pellet-based alternative, reports News.com.au.
"It seems like the desire for junk food has overridden their hunger signals, they would rather eat nothing ... than consume the chow as their energy source," Ong said.
"We've seen junk food can be addictive so it is possibly better to consume not too much junk food," she added.
The furry volunteers were allowed to eat their fill of a variety of biscuits, hazelnut spread, peanut butter, sugar-loaded cereals along with cheese and bacon-flavoured snacks. Then, they were monitored over three days when this food was replaced with pellets.
ver this time, the junk food-fed rats ran around more than a group of control rats who had only ever eaten the pellets.
"When not with the junk food they became more anxious ... they were probably suffering from junk food withdrawal," Ong said.
The research was released at an Adelaide meeting of The Australian Society for Medical Research.