What makes food addictive?

What makes food addictive, and what are the foremost important belongings you got to do immediately to lower your risk of developing an addiction to certain sorts of foods?

We all know obesity is a plague, but one thing that’s concerning is that the projections. By 2030, 85 percent of adults are projected to be overweight or obese. that’s a staggering number. Despite all of the diets, fitness gadgets, supplements, we’ve not been ready to make a dent during this crisis.

In 2008, obesity-related health care costs were approximately $147 billion. Over the subsequent 15 years, these costs are projected to extend by 15 percent.

When it involves causes of obesity, only 20 to 30 percent is genetic. the remainder of it’s supported environmental factors like food access, portion sizes, physical food, and therefore the increasing prevalence of highly processed foods.

These highly processed foods have led to an idea called food addiction. Essentially, the definition for it’s this loss of control overeating. this is often despite having negative consequences like diabetes, heart condition, heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and more. 

Food addiction is extremely almost like the white plague. In both cases, there’s brain overstimulation. This results in a neural adaptation that reduces reward pathways, leading to the reduction of dopamine receptors.

Food addiction is extremely powerful. In animal studies, rats are first fed highly addictive foods rich in refined carbohydrates and fat. Then the foods are paired with an electrical shock to discourage eating. Despite getting shocks, the rats will keep going for this food.

Once the rats are wont to this highly processed food, the researchers remove it and replace it with their traditional chow. However, the rats refuse to eat and find themselves starving themselves. And this is often an equivalent concept in humans, is we are so hooked into this food that we keep going after it.

To measure food addiction, researchers use the Yale Food Addiction Scale. It’s a 25 item questionnaire using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for drug abuse. It helps quantify addictive eating symptoms.

When it involves addictive foods, there are certain characteristics they need in common. First, the foods are rarely in their wild. consider grapes, which aren’t addictive, versus wine, which is processed. Other examples are fruits that have sugar or nuts that have fat. Neither is addictive in itself. But you’re taking processed foods like cake, pizza, and chocolate rich in carbohydrates and fat, and that they are highly addictive.

The key to recollect is how easy your access to junk foods is. If you’ve got food in your home, you’re getting to eat it. this is often something that Chef AJ talks about a few lots. She tells her clients you can’t have these highly processed foods within the home. I completely accept as true that philosophy.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

When we mention addictive foods, a method to believe them is thru the glycemic index. A glycemic index is extremely simply a rating on how slowly or quickly foods cause a rise in your blood glucose. Low glycemic foods have a rating of 55 or less; medium glycemic foods have a rating of 56 to 69; high glycemic foods have a rating of 70 or more. Some classic samples of high glycemic index foods include polished rice, light bread, and potatoes.

But the glycemic index features a flaw therein it doesn’t take under consideration serving size. this is often where the glycemic load comes in. It uses the glycemic index and therefore the typical serving size to calculate a worth for the glycemic load. Low glycemic load values are but 10, medium values range between 11-19, and high values are greater than 20. Some samples of high glycemic load foods include 1 cup of cornflakes (GL 21), ten large jelly beans (GL 22), or one snickers candy (GL 22.1).


Let’s dive into the research. during a study by Schulte and colleagues, the authors proposed that highly processed foods are almost like drugs of abuse therein the ingredients are concentrated and cause rapid absorption. within the case of foods, their highly processed nature and high amount of fat and refined carbohydrates are what the authors implicate in causing addictive-like behavior.

The study had two parts. within the first part, the authors checked out 120 undergrads, ages 18 to 21, 72.5% Caucasians, with a mean BMI of 23. The participants answered twenty-five questions on the Yale food addiction scale, essentially asking how often they need problems with certain foods? And what they found was that the foremost problematic foods are those that are an equivalent that we’ve been talking about.

The authors found that the foremost problematic foods had the highest-level processing, the highest amount of fat, and refined carbohydrates. These foods included chocolate, ice cream, french-fried potatoes, pizza, and cookies. On the flip side, the smallest amount of problematic foods were beans, broccoli, cucumbers, water, and rice. All of which were closest in their wild.

In the second part of the study, the authors checked out 389 participants, ages 18 to 65, 76.8% Caucasians with a mean BMI of 26.95. At this point, participants were asked to rate on a Likert scale how likely were they to experience problems with each of the 35 foods presented—one being not problematic to seven being the foremost problematic. once more, the foremost problematic foods were highly processed and contained large amounts of added fat and refined carbohydrates. These included pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies, and frozen dessert.

Bottom Line

So, what’s the take-home message? the primary is, albeit food addiction isn’t a politician diagnosis within the DSM V, food addiction may be a significant problem that must be addressed. The highly processed nature of foods with large quantities of fat and refined carbohydrates leave concentrated dosing and rapid absorption. These qualities make foods almost like drugs of abuse.

One of the simplest ways to scale back your risk of food addiction is by cleaning your environment. Don’t keep junk foods in your house. Create barriers to getting junk foods. Dr. Columbus Batiste talked about the thought that if you would like food, wait for a half-hour. therein half-hour, eat something healthy like an apple. If you continue to want the food at the top of the half-hour, then choose it. the likelihood is that this easy act of waiting for half-hour will curb your cravings.

Finally, remember that an entire Food plant-based diet is right because it’s naturally low in fat and low in refined carbohydrates. it’s calorie-poor and nutrient-dense; it’s good for the planet; it’s good for your overall health; it’s good for the health of our youngsters.