Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine have recently found that mice who were fed a high-fat diet over a long period of time developed impaired genes, which increased cravings for the unhealthy foods.
The fatty foods affected the pleasure and reward sections of the brain, similar to drugs like heroin and cocaine, and caused irreversible damage after just six months of the poor diet.
Senior author of the study, Dr. Teresa Reyes, said the research could shed some light on cycles of weight gain and why it is so hard for people to overcome obesity.
The results "suggest one explanation for why some people face such difficulty in the path to weight loss and healthier eating," Dr. Reyes said.
The American Heart Association has reported that diets high in fat and cholesterol can lead to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and different types of cancer. Additionally, such diets typically do not include the vitamins, minerals, fiber and other elements necessary for optimal health and disease prevention.