There has been more evidence emerging to suggest that certain foods can in fact be addictive! This tends to apply to highly processed items like chocolate and pizza. Foods that were unprocessed and had no added fats or sugars were not associated with addictive behaviours e.g. brown rice.
‘Previous studies in animals conclude that highly processed foods, or foods with added fat or refined carbohydrates (like white flour and sugar), may be capable of triggering addictive-like eating behavior. Clinical studies in humans have observed that some individuals meet the criteria for substance dependence when the substance is food ’
This is one of only few studies that look in to the specific types of food that can be addictive. Whilst more research needs to be done, this study helps to give us more insight in to the issue and potential reason for the increasing rates of obesity.
‘ Individuals with symptoms of food addiction or with higher body mass indexes reported greater problems with highly processed foods, suggesting some may be particularly sensitive to the possible “rewarding” properties of these foods, said Erica Schulte, a U-M psychology doctoral student and the study’s lead author’.
By continuing to research specific foods that can trigger addiction, we can better tailor treatment of overweight and obesity and hopefully become more strict with the advertising and discounts of these items.
“This is a first step towards identifying specific foods, and properties of foods, which can trigger this addictive response,” she said. “This could help change the way we approach obesity treatment. It may not be a simple matter of ‘cutting back’ on certain foods, but rather, adopting methods used to curtail smoking, drinking and drug use.” Future research should examine whether addictive foods are capable of triggering changes in brain circuitry and behavior like drugs of abuse, the researchers said ’