It’s easy to claim we’re “addicted” to foods like the donuts from down the street or our beloved Thai takeout. But while the concept of food addiction is controversial among researchers, there is growing evidence that highly processed, fatty, sugary foods like pizza, chocolate, chips and cookies as uniquely problematic foods in people’s lives. Huffington Post has the scoop below.
In the latest study published on the subject, Dr. Nicole Avena of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that behaviors and attitudes surrounding some types of food closely followed addiction patterns. She hopes her work, recently published in the journal PLOS One, might one day contribute to the next generation of obesity and eating disorder treatment.
Avena asked 504 participants to identify the foods that seemed to cause them the most problems. To define “problem” foods, Avena encouraged participants to use the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which asks participants to count the number of times they’ve agreed with sentences like, “I eat to the point where I feel physically ill” or “I spend a lot of time feeling sluggish or fatigued from overeating,” to help them identify the biggest offenders. Then Avena averaged the scores for different kinds of foods and ranked them from most to least problematic when it came to addiction-like behaviors.
>> Read more: Ways to Actually Train Your Brain to Crave Healthier Foods
Notice anything? The foods that caused people the most mental distress and physical discomfort are also foods that are highly-processed or are high in added fats and sugars. They’re also more likely to have the highest levels of glycemic load, which is a measurement of how a food will raise a person’s blood sugar level after eating it. That’s no coincidence, said Avena.
To learn more about why those foods are the most addictive and why healthier foods are not, click here to see the original story from Huffington Post.
>> Read more: Can You Really Be Addicted to Sugar?