The Most Addictive Foods
How often it happens to you: a square of chocolate you wanted to eat turns into swallowing the whole bar before you even notice? Let us be honest, most of us know how this sweet disappointment feels. But do not blame yourself, because the truth is that some foods are very addictive. This article was created to raise your awareness about the top addictive foods and to make it clear why certain foods are more addictive than others.
What Makes Certain Foods Addictive?
When it comes to addictive foods, overeating is much more than just a lack of willpower. The thing is that there are biochemical reasons why you can lose control over the amount or quality of food you eat.
Addictive-like eating is associated with processed foods that are high in sugar and/or fat. Such foods are created to be super tasty and make you feel like you need more.
There are two major reasons why it is so difficult to spot eating addictive foods. First of all, they are high in calories and become a reason for blood sugar spikes associated with food cravings. Secondly, they stimulate a reward center in your brain releasing a massive amount of feel-good chemicals. Food carvings happen when your brain seeks more reward, so it wants you to eat hyper-rewarding foods again and again. The bad news is that such behavior becomes the reason for food addiction, leads to gaining excess weight and obesity. The good news is that your awareness about addictive foods allows you to avoid eating them and helps you to take control over your brain.
Top 10 Addictive Foods
Chocolate is one of the most addictive foods on earth. It is so because it creates a strong dopamine hit. But it is not just dopamine that makes you eat more. There is another feel-good hormone associated with eating chocolate- oxytocin. What is more, chocolate stimulates the same areas of the brain as alcohol and some drugs, so addiction to chocolate is not a joke or metaphor. Every time you enjoy another square of chocolate, you promote the connection between the process of eating and the release of feel-good hormones in your brain. So the next time your brain will seek pleasure, you will be more likely to eat these next-level chocolates with added superfoods to get even more satisfaction.
According to statistics, the average American today consumes 30 pounds more cheese per year than we did 100 years ago. Although cheese provides some health benefits, it is generally high in fat and cholesterol and that is why should be eaten in smaller portions. What is more, cheese is very addictive due to the presence of a substance known as casomorphin. Casomorphin stimulates the opioid or feel-good receptors in the brain, releasing dopamine. The release of dopamine is exactly the reason why you want more of cheese, especially when it comes in combination with another addictive food such as wine.
Although chips do not stimulate feel-good areas in the brain, they are very addictive. The thing is that chips are made of simple carbohydrates that cause a strong glucose release, giving you a lot of energy. Unfortunately, energy provided by simple carbohydrates is used up quickly, so after a short time you end up a pack of chips, your body will send you signals that it needs more to keep the high level of blood sugar.
4. Energy Drinks
It is not a secret that sugary sodas are very addictive. But things get even worse if you add some caffeine. Energy drinks contain both a lot of sugar and caffeine, so you will feel symptoms of withdrawal if you try to stop. Such symptoms include sluggishness, headaches, and emotional distress and it is likely that you will drink another can of red bull to get rid of them.
5. French Fries
French fries is a comfort food you can find in the menu of nearly every restaurant. French fries have a combination of features that make our brain and mouth enjoy the taste: they are crisp, hot, and salty. Actually, it is one of the top ordered foods in restaurants as it triggers receptors in our mouths that send signals to the brain to make us want more.
6. Ice Cream
Creamy texture and high sugar content make ice cream one of the most addictive foods imaginable. The truth about ice cream is that it stimulates the same areas of the brain as some drugs and that is why you always want more. Also, high sugar content causes blood sugar spikes, so eating ice cream develops sugar dependency. What is worse, after some period, your body gets used to amounts of sugar contained in these treats, so instead of consuming less, all you want is more.
Pizza is another highly addictive food. It does not matter what kind of pizza you choose, because of the combination of tomato sauce high in sugar, addictive cheese, and the fluffy dough will always make you want more. The process of getting addictive to pizza is quite simple: it makes your blood sugar zip up quickly, so when it drops you feel hungry again and likely to eat more of tasty pizza slices.
8. White Bread
Is there any white bread in your kitchen? If it is, note that white bread made up of highly refined carbohydrates is a real food drug. The thing is that simple carbohydrates from white bread and some similar products break down in the body to a more basic form – glucose. It means that eating white bread is similar to eating pure sugar and that is why it is so addictive.
9. Microwave Popcorn
There are a lot of people who think that popcorn is a healthy food full of nutrients but the truth is that it makes you fat and addicted. A pack of microwave popcorn contains nearly half of recommended daily fat dose and most of the popcorn fats are saturated. What is more, it contains a lot of sodium, about 30% of the recommended daily dose. Popcorn also contains a lot of sugar and causes rapid blood sugar spikes in your body. The combination of fat, salt and sugar make it extremely addictive, making you want to eat more and more until you realize that you are full.
10. Agave Syrup
Agave is a fake healthy food and, what is more, it is extremely addictive because it contains a lot of sugar. Sugar contained in agave is known as fructose. In comparison to traditional sugar, fructose must be shuttled directly to your liver to be broken down. When fructose gets to your liver, the organ has to stop whatever it is doing to deal with this type of sugar. What is worse, fructose transforms into a fat immediately.
Agave syrup contains 90% of fructose: it increases your blood sugar making you want more and more, it becomes the reason why your body starts to store extra fats and can actually be harmful to your health.