Are French fries, chocolate or pizza really addictive?
Who doesn’t know what it feels like to try to eat only on French fry, for example, and in an instant being aware that you have to have more? A very common behavior, at times labeled as “addictive”, that also infers to foods such as chocolate or pizza and that now could have a scientific explanation, as a recent study by the University of Michigan reveals.
While prior studies involving animals revealed that highly processed food products or those containing added carbohydrates –white flour or sugar, for example—were capable of triggering a behavior similar to that of an addition, in terms of human beings, researchers observed that some of them can also develop a dependency on food, much like that developed on other substances.
What is still unknown is what specific foods could trigger this addictive behavior, thought it has been observed that those people with a high Body Mass Index or with food addition symptoms had greater problems with highly processed foods; something that doesn’t occur, for example, with unprocessed foods, such as rice or salmon.
A finding that, if confirmed –according to the authors of the study—could affect both nutritional guidelines as well as public policy initiatives. “This is a first step towards identifying certain foods, and the properties of those foods that could trigger an addictive response”, Nicole Avena, one of the authors of the study, stated. “This could help change the way we address the treatment of obesity. It might not be a simple matter of “cutting out” certain foods but rather of adopting methods used to reduce smoking, alcohol and drug use”.