Highly addictive, some foods don’t act very differently from hard drugs. Several studies have shown that those that are tasty or highly processed can activate key areas in our brain and modify their behavior, just like drugs or alcohol. Without necessarily turning into a dependency on food, this can help explain why we often feel like using them and find it difficult to stop once we’ve started. This applies, for example, to white bread, which is highly addictive. Here is a list of other foods that can be addictive!
These foods can get us addicted because they are very sweet, which has a stimulating effect on the brain similar to drugs. The very high glycemic index (GI) of sweets has another more surprising effect revealed by a study from the Boston Children’s Hospital. According to these scientists, a high GI will increase blood flow to areas of the brain associated with reward and desire. This type of food will also cause blood sugar to skyrocket and will increase cravings and food cravings. Sodas and sweetened beverages are also very sweet and generally addictive.
If Nutella is addictive, it is above all because the spread, in general, is very sweet. However, there is another ingredient other than sugar that poses a problem. Indeed, according to the CNRS, palm oil contains triglycerides which act as a hard drug for the brain. Yet another good reason to switch to palm oil-free spreads!
It’s not very surprising to see chocolate in this list of foods that can be addictive when we know that only about 1% of the population doesn’t like it! A lot of people make the claim that they are completely dependent on it.
In fact, scientists have often observed the addictive effect of chocolate squares and chocolate bars. And this can be explained scientifically! In 2011, work had shown that all alcohol and certain drugs stimulate the pleasure zones in the brain. It also tends to melt in the mouth, a pleasantly smooth texture associated with the production of oxytocin (a happiness hormone).
It’s impossible not to realize how addictive crisps can be when you can’t get your hand off the packet even though you’re not necessarily hungry. It must be said that just like sugar, salt has an exciting effect on the brain. It also contains a lot of fat! And as if being very salty and very fatty wasn’t enough to make them addictive enough, these foods saturated in fast sugars also have a high GI. These foods will thus stimulate the production of dopamine and/or oxytocin, hormones directly associated with the feeling of pleasure and reward.
The pizza is very salty and very greasy, but that’s not all! During a study, researchers who had previously established a classification of the most addictive foods identified a common characteristic of all these products. Chocolate, chips, cheeseburgers, popcorn, and pizza contain twice as many carbohydrates as fat. These are characteristics that are also found in breast milk. According to these scientists, our brains often get pleasure from food at a young age. According to them, infants’ brains will establish “neural rewards” for the first taste sensations throughout their lives.
6) Biscuits and pastries
If these foods are among the most addictive, it is because they are rich in quick sugars, very fatty, and have a very high GI. By causing reactive hypoglycemia (an explosion of glycemia and energy that goes down just as quickly), this type of food is also not without encouraging nibbling and nibbling… with the result that you feel like having a few treats to relieve yourself! During research in 2013 into the dependency on sweet and fatty foods and the risk that this contributes to the current obesity epidemic, researchers had also made a surprising discovery: Oreo biscuits proved to be as addictive as cocaine or morphine in the rats used for this work!
7) The cheese
A bit of cheese in each dish, a portion after the meal, a piece of cheese for a snack… It’s hard to do without it and to stop once you’re started! The problem is that cheese is rich in fat, cholesterol and casomorphine. This substance activates the same receptors in the brain as opiates. It causes the released quantity of dopamine… and the onset of a small habit of addiction to this type of food! Also in a product of plant origin, you should know that fatty meats (roast meat, rib of beef, leg of lamb, red meat in general) also contain a lot of fat and therefore also promote the feeling of addiction.
Be careful not to mix addiction and gluttony!
Food addiction is a brain disease characterized by a loss of control and compulsion. You may have an irrepressible need to eat when you know you shouldn’t and you can’t prevent it. The difference between being greedy and having some bad eating habits is that there is suffering (a feeling of unease or even anxiety) and a feeling of lack if the food in question is not eaten. The support of a nutritionist can therefore be crucial to accompany weaning in the event of eating disorders and addictions.