This came out the other day and I'm wondering what the real story is from a paleo/primal/low-carb point of view.
It doesn't make much sense to me but then I've already got my confirmation bias going.
It's headlines like this that are very misleading to the public.
They fed high fat along with high carbs and high sugar and came to the conclusion that a high fat diet is addicting. Gee, do you suspose the poor rats would not become addicted to the sugar? Dishonest.
See http://primalmuse.blogspot.com/2010/03/food-and-addiction.html for a complete dismemberment of the study. And MDA has also torn it a new one There is a link at primalmuse to the MDA takedown.
The cafeteria diet [fed to the rats] consisted of bacon, sausage, cheesecake, pound cake, frosting and chocolate.
I'm certainly not a specialist, but a substance that is addictive is not always bad. With addictive meaning you want to get more of it.
Fat could be addictive: you want to eat more of it Sugar is addictive: you certainly want to eat more of it!
Remember that our instincts and motives are formed by natural selection, meaning that there is always a 'restriction' in availability.
Sugar is addictive, and for a true hunter gatherer that probably is not a problem, because sugar is not very abundant.
In the same way fat could be addictive, without being a problem for hunter gatherers: they have to work to get it, and only eat the 'good fats'.
I totally agree though on the dishonesty of the researchers calling everything high fat, while it is also high in carbs!
I think the news article unintentionally hit the nail on the head when it said:
"Not surprisingly, the rats that gorged themselves on the human food quickly became obese."
Quite, animals who naturally eat almost exclusively plants aren't going to do well on a high fat diet. It's also been shown before that whereas rats do very badly on a high fat, moderate carb diet, they swiftly lose weight on a ketogenic diet. Indeed, Peter observed that when given the choice, rats bred to be unable to handle carbohydrate voluntarily select a HFLC diet and remain healthy.
And as pieter d says, it shouldn't necessarily be worrying that fat is 'addictive' in the sense that you strongly desire to get large amount of it on a regular basis and feel worse without it. There's nothing wrong with wanting to get your daily calories, in fat, daily. It makes sense that our bodies would broadly be attuned to desiring what's good for us, notwithstanding times when we're outside our evolutionary niche (e.g. there being no need to gorge on any available fructose in preparation for the winter). The 'addiction' of the rats in this study may well be nothing more than the rats trying to fuel their bodies, while being physiologically unable to handle HC and HF combined.
The article also neglected to mention the other common thread in all those foods: GMO corn.
"bacon, sausage, cheesecake, pound cake, frosting and chocolate" Those things are loaded with hidden GMO corn derivatives and I would put my money on those being the addictive factor (and the cause of the obesity since corn is an endocryne disruptor). I'm sure they weren't feeding the rats with "pastured pork, naturally cured, organic bacon with non-iodized sea salt and pure organic cane sugar". Believe it or not, that is what you would have to look for in order to reduce your chances of GMO corn contamination of bacon. Of course, it may still contain GMO corn because lactic acid and citric acid derived from GMO corn are allowed in the processing of organic meats. The odds of accidentally acquiring any of those six foods in the United States without the added bonus of a healthy dose of GMO corn are infinitesimal at best. Only with research and fierce determination is it possible to find any of those six without corn at all.
Almost all free gluatamic acid additives are made from GMO corn and the remaining few are made with GMO soy. The main reason for using those additives in the manufacture of processed foods is the addictive nature of these "flavor enhancers". (the other important reason is that they fool the brain into believing the food-like substances actually taste good) There is no question that the toxic food additives are addictive......have you ever heard of a "casual diet coke drinker"?
For a hilarious and spot-on assessment of this unfortunate study, Tom Naughton has debunked it on his Fat Head blog. Good stuff. :)