We’ve all been there. What starts as a handful of chips or a spoonful of ice cream ends with an empty container and dread of the bathroom scale. But what it is it about overeating that makes even the most disciplined person occasionally lose control?
For years, researchers have been probing the possibility that obesity and addiction overlap, with emerging evidence suggesting that the same reward circuits in the brain that are activated by drugs also respond to calories. Obese people, the thinking goes, may overindulge because their brains’ reward circuitry, which responds to the pleasure of eating, is out of whack.