Well, not quite. I got an intriguing abstract in my inbox earlier today, to this new paper from BMC Neuroscience:
Here using a new conditioned suppression paradigm, we investigated whether the ability of a foot-shockpaired conditioned stimulus to suppress chocolate-seeking behavior was antagonized by previous exposure to a chronic stressful experience, thus modeling aberrant chocolate seeking in sated mice. Our findings demonstrate that while Control (non-food deprived) animals showed a profound conditioned suppression of chocolate seeking during presentation of conditioned stimulus, previously food deprived (FD) animals revealed a clear-cut preference for the chamber containing chocolate, thus indicating that previous exposure to a food restriction experience induces food seeking/intake despite its possible harmful consequences, which is an index of compulsive behavior.
Aberrant chocolate seeking? I plead guilty! Wait, this isn’t about me. Actually, all the article shows is that when presented with a chamber containing chocolate, mice were dissuaded from entering by an electric shock – unless they had previously been starved. The mice weren’t starving at the time of the experiment, mind you; they’d recovered and gained back the weight they’d lost. But the previous experience of starvation overcame their aversion to the shock, and they continued entering the chocolate chamber despite it. (“entering the chocolate chamber” would be a good band name.)
Of course my cynicism reared its ugly head immediately and said “they totally used chocolate just to get A) internet buzz, B) completely misleading mainstream media coverage, and C) invited to be on Oprah.” (Consider this post my contribution to A). But the authors plead innocent, saying “milk chocolate was chosen based on previous studies showing its rewarding properties in animals. In addition, chocolate is the most commonly craved food and chocolate craving and addiction have been proposed in humans.”
Uh-huh. Whatever you say, dudes. Mmmmm, chocolate mice.
LA Burdick’s Chocolate Mice.