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Type: Journal article
Title: The impact of junk foods on the adolescent brain
Author: Reichelt, A.
Rank, M.
Citation: Birth Defects Research, 2017; 109(20):1649-1658
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 2472-1727
Statement of
Amy C. Reichelt, Michelle M. Rank
Abstract: Adolescence is a significant period of physical, social, and emotional development, and is characterized by prominent neurobiological changes in the brain. The maturational processes that occur in brain regions responsible for cognitive control and reward seeking may underpin excessive consumption of palatable high fat and high sugar "junk" foods during adolescence. Recent studies have highlighted the negative impact of these foods on brain function, resulting in cognitive impairments and altered reward processing. The increased neuroplasticity during adolescence may render the brain vulnerable to the negative effects of these foods on cognition and behavior. In this review, we describe the mechanisms by which junk food diets influence neurodevelopment during adolescence. Diet can lead to alterations in dopamine-mediated reward signaling, and inhibitory neurotransmission controlled by γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), two major neurotransmitter systems that are under construction across adolescence. We propose that poor dietary choices may derail the normal adolescent maturation process and influence neurodevelopmental trajectories, which can predispose individuals to dysregulated eating and impulsive behaviors.
Keywords: Adolescence; dopamine; cognitive control; obesity; prefrontal cortex
Rights: © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc
RMID: 1000025741
DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1173
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Appears in Collections:Medicine publications

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