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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The following was received by me :


p r e s s c u t t i n g Jonathan Leake and Andrew Porter


Sunday Times



Burgers are as addictive as drugs

SCIENTISTS have discovered that high doses of fat and sugar

in fast and processed foods can be as addictive as nicotine ù and

even hard drugs.

The research found that foods which are high in fat and sugar

can cause significant changes in brain biochemistry similar to

those from drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Once hooked, the

researchers say, many people find it almost impossible to switch

back to a healthy diet, often leading to obesity.

The evidence is to be taken up by lawyers preparing

multi-million-pound claims from people who allege that their

ôaddictionö to fast foods has damaged their health.

They say the new research undermines the claims of companies

such as McDonaldÆs and KFC that the decision to eat their

products is down to ôpersonal responsibilityö.

The addictive nature of fatty foods has been established by

researchers at Rockefeller University in New York who found that

regularly eating the products can quickly reconfigure the bodyÆs

hormonal system to want yet more fat.

They also found that early exposure to fatty food could

influence childrenÆs choices so that they would always seek a

similar diet, increasing the likelihood of obesity in later life.

In another study, to be published shortly, Professor Ann

Kelley, a neuroscientist, and Matthew Will, of the University of

Wisconsin, traced the biochemical changes in the brains of rats

fed different diets.

Those given a high-fat diet became hooked and if the fat was

taken away, displayed symptoms similar to those of a drug addict

deprived of his or her fix. Fat rats also suffered changes in

brain development.

ôThe research suggests that a high-fat diet alters brain

biochemistry with effects similar to those of powerful opiates

such as morphine,ö said Will.

The daily recommended intake of energy for an adult man is

about 2,300 calories, of which no more than 35% should come from

fat and 11% from added sugars. Women should eat about 1,800

calories a day.

However, a meal at a fast food outlet ù burger, chips, drink

and dessert ù can deliver almost all of an adult manÆs

recommended daily calories in a single sitting. For example, a

McDonaldÆs quarter pounder with cheese contains 516 calories. A

large portion of french fries adds another 412, and an

accompanying large milk shake another 500 calories ù while a

chocolate doughnut or dessert gives a further 379.

The total is more than 1,800 calories, most of it coming from

fat and sugar. By comparison, a leg of chicken with boiled

potatoes and peas plus an apple contain about 800 calories, with

a relatively small proportion comprising fat or sugar.

Some nutritionists say that it is unfair to blame just fast

food firms for surging obesity when 85% of peopleÆs food comes

from supermarkets. Such stores promote processed foods with high

levels of fat and sugar, along with snacks such as crisps, ice

cream and chocolate, because they offer high profit margins.

Scientists at the food companies NestlT and Unilever have

also been investigating how snack foods make people binge eat.

ôWe have projects currently running to investi- gate this,ö a

spokesman for Nestle said.

A typical snack such as a standard 34 gram packet of crisps

can comprise 33% fat, have high levels of salt and provide

180-200 calories, more than 10% of a childÆs daily needs. In

recent years firms have competed by offering ever larger packets.

The new research will be featured in a BBC2 television

programme, Big Mac Under Attack, to be shown on Tuesday. It

suggests that high-fat and high-sugar diets can disrupt the

delicate hormonal balance that would normally prompt people to

stop eating.

John F Banzhaf III, professor of law at the George Washington

University law school and who led AmericaÆs anti- tobacco

litigation, said that the findings left companies selling food

high in fat and sugar ôdeeply vulnerableö. He has written to six

of the worldÆs largest fast food companies warning them of


ôMost of these companies sell this food without any

nutritional information, labelling or warnings. A product that is

both dangerous and addictive is very difficult to defend,ö said


Professor Gary Slapper, director of the Open University law

programme, said he believed that the first British legal actions

over obesity were imminent. ôThere is an obligation to make risks

clear to consumers and failure to do so makes food companies

liable,ö he said.

In France, fears of a consumer backlash have prompted

McDonaldÆs to publish nutritional advice that inactive children

should not eat its meals more than once a week.

---------------- Sunday Times Leader: Hooked on hamburgers

As every clothing manufacturer knows, there is large,

extra-large and American obese. Visitors to the United States,

expecting the finely honed bodies of the Hollywood image, are

more usually confronted with a monstrous army of fatties. More

than half of adult Americans are overweight and a quarter are

obese. American airlines, tired of trying to squeeze enormous

bottoms into ordinary seats, have taken to charging obese

customers for two seats. It would be easy to laugh, except

Britain appears to be going the same way. Our couch potatoes are

developing a special relationship with their American

counterparts. Obesity costs the National Health Service several

billion pounds a year.

Now it seems that the fatties have an excuse and it is one

that could rebound badly on the fast food industry. New research

suggests that the fat and sugar in fast food are as dangerously

addictive as tobacco or some drugs. Foods that are high in fat

and sugar lead to changes in the brainÆs biochemistry. This means

that once you are hooked it is almost impossible to give up.

Millions of people seemingly wake up each morning craving fixes

of Big Macs or Colonel SandersÆs finger lickinÆ chicken. Like all

addictions it can never be properly satisfied.

For the fast food firms, this comes at a bad time. McDonaldÆs

has closed more than 700 outlets and announced its first

quarterly loss this year. One suggestion was that it was being

boycotted by international customers angry with America over

Iraq. More likely, people have got fed up with fattening food.

All this has made our learned friends excited at the prospect

of some fat fees. McDonaldÆs, which has started to introduce

healthier foods, is no stranger to litigation. There was the case

of the $3m awarded to a customer scalded by hot coffee, and its

action against two environmentalists in London which resulted in

the longest-running libel case. So far it is ahead; in January, a

New York judge threw out a case by teenagers claiming that

McDonaldÆs had caused their obesity. But more actions are likely

to follow. Fat is becoming a serious legal issue.


---- the McLibel mailing list ----


2,144 Posts
I think it´s the work of triglycerides. If the level of triglycerides drop, a craving for fatty foods starts. I believe too, that fatty foods like burgers are addictive.

0 Posts
I just had the portabello mushroom one. I grilled it in my flat pan with some imported olive oil. I grilled a red onion, green pepper, and marinated mushroom pieces next to it. I had it with some marinara sauce and a side of angel hair pasta. Magnifico!

8,440 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I wonder how long it will take before some one sues McD for making them an addict without warning them.

I guess there will have to be a text printed on the boxes.

"hamburgers can be addictive etc...."


4,211 Posts
The whole fat people VS mcdonalds thingy is silly to me. Everyone is aware that mcdonalds is junk food. Everyone is aware that eating junk food day in day out is not good for you.

It is time that people took charge of their own bodies, and if they harm their own body, they should not seek to pass ownership of the blame onto someone else, so they may seek money. I have accepted that I've buggered up my teeth. My dentist has said that they're awful, and I'd agree. However, I won't sue the coca cola company or any other junk food manufacturers over damages to my teeth, because it's not their fault that I have bad teeth, it's mine.

2,631 Posts
I agree Loki, people do need to take responsiblity for their own choices.

i also believe that people really believe if they are allowed to sell it, then it must be ok to eat.. generally by the time someone has become aware that is probably not a good idea to eat fast food etc.. they are already in the pattern of doing it and patterns are hard to change. people want to assume that someone is watching out for them, while they still believe we should have the freedoms to market anything we want because censorship is deemed as bad. this type of thinking puts us in a situation of wanting to be allowed to do as we please with the false thinking we are being protected.

i think people should be told the truth. if they sell a product that is bad for the body it should have a warning label.. imagine all the products that would require a warning label!
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