Food is one thing that ties people together. We form stronger bonds around food. Certain foods also cheer us up when we’re down, while others make us calm.
This feel-good mechanism that certain foods trigger in our brains might also be the reason that they could potentially be addictive when we eat too much of them.
A team of researchers from the University of Michigan conducted a study to determine which types of foods could be most addictive. They asked two groups, one comprised of 120 undergrads from the university and another of 400 adults, to rate a number of foods and whether or not they think they could have a problem controlling how much they ate of each.
A total of 35 foods were rated. These foods claimed the top 10 spots as the most addictive foods:
5. Ice Cream
6. French Fries
8. Soda (No Diet)
Pizza, chocolate, ice cream, cake: these are just some of the foods we like to indulge in every now and then (or maybe often). But these foods have addictive potential. This means, if you eat too much of these foods, there’s a possibility you might develop an addiction to them. There is such a thing as food addiction, in case you didn’t know.
Also included in the list were fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, and broccoli, but they rank lower in the list.
We live in a fast-paced world, where time is valuable and fast food is the norm. Everything is grab and go. But as with everything else in life, moderation is key when it comes to eating certain foods.
Mike Robinson, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behavior at Wesleyan University, who was not involved in the study, told CNN that although not all foods can be addictive, “it is critical to understand which ones do.”
Topping the list are mostly processed foods. In the study, a total of 18 were processed foods. Study authors say addictive substances are rarely in their natural state.
“Processing appears to be an essential distinguishing factor for whether a food is associated with behavioral indicators of addictive-like eating,” the study authors write.
Processed food contain artificially-elevated quantities of sugar (or refined carbohydrates) and fat. These can rarely be found together in the same food naturally.
“In a similar manner that drugs are processed to increase their addictive potential, this study provides insight that highly processed foods may be intentionally manufactured to be particularly rewarding through the addition of fat and refined carbohydrates, like white flour and sugar,” said Erica Schulte, graduate student of psychology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study.