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Ice cream 'as addictive as cocaine'

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We've all had those moments where a tub of ice cream has vanished in the blink of an eyelid - but few would guess there is a scientific reason behind our desire for the sweet stuff...

A new study has found that ice cream is as addictive as illegal drugs such as cocaine and creates the same desire for more seen among drug users.

American researchers found that people who regularly consumed ice cream craved more and more to re-create the first "high" they experienced.

The brain wants more of the delicious snack while in the process of eating it, replicating the way it reacts to class A drugs over a period of sustained use.

"Repeated, overconsumption of high-fat or high-sugar foods may alter how the brain responds to those foods in a way that perpetuates further intake," Dr Kyle Burger, from the Oregon Research Institute, told The Telegraph. "This tolerance is thought to increase use, or eating, because the individual trying to achieve the previous level of satisfaction."

"The data supports the theory that overeating such foods may result in changes in how the brain responds to those foods in a similar fashion seen in drug addiction."

In the survey, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 151 teenagers were fed real chocolate milkshakes made with Häagen Dazs ice cream.

They were interviewed about their cravings and eating habits and underwent brain scans using a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machine, while being shown a picture of a shake.

The study concluded that all participants wanted the real shake but those who had consumed the most ice cream recently enjoyed it less - suggesting their brains had become blunted to the pleasure of it and needed more for satisfaction and feelings of euphoria. Those who had eaten more ice cream also reacted less to the image of the shake.

What do you think - are you addicted to ice-cream? Or do you know your limits? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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