Some people accomplish a dopamine boost by eating. The Brookhaven National Laboratory studied severely obese people and found they had significantly lower levels of dopamine receptors compared to non-obese controls.1 This directly parallels what researchers have found about the risk of drug addiction — those with a naturally sluggish dopamine systems are at greater risk.
Comparing obese people and drug addicts, Gene-Jack Wang, the chairman of the Medical Department at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, said, “They always feel something is lacking, and in order for them to feel OK, they need to use something that boosts dopamine in the brain.”2
1. Lack of Dopamine Could Explain Obesity, San Francisco Chronicle, February 12, 2001.
2. The New Science of Addiction, Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2006.