The New Scientist magazine in its January issue has reported that a regular diet of fast foods like hamburgers, fries and foods high in fat and calories may be addictive. The researchers have found that eating oneself to obesity is not just due to a lack of self-control, but is most likely due to the hormonal changes caused by the fast foods, in the body, that could impair the ability to control eating. As people start gaining weight due to a steady fast food diet, they become more resistant to a brain peptide called galanin that stimulates eating and to leptin, a hormone which is strongly linked to weight and appetite. Leptin releases signals to the part of the brain that co-ordinates eating behaviour.
Studies conducted by researchers has shown that rats fed with a high-fat diet early in life grew up to be obese adults. Studies are also on to find out if bingeing on foods high in fat and sugar causes changes in the brain associated with addiction to drugs. However, it has not yet been conclusively shown that fast foods are addictive and many scientists argue that those who claim so should provide concrete evidence.