It probably won't shock you to learn that some foods are triggers for binge eating. Who among us has not had a craving for a slice of pizza, but then ended up eating practically the whole pie? In 2015, researchers set out to quantify our “addiction” to certain foods, surveying 120 undergraduates at the University of Michigan, and another group of 400 adults. The researchers wanted to pinpoint foods that represented possible problems, in terms of people controlling their urge to over-eat. Not surprisingly, pizza, chocolate, chips, and cookies topped the list -- all processed foods that the researchers said may be “intentionally manufactured to be particularly rewarding,” and packed with fat and refined carbohydrates. These foods, which have a “high glycemic load,” can affect the body’s blood sugar level and can be difficult to stop eating.
When food becomes an addiction:
- Reports of people losing control over how much they eat, and experiencing withdrawal when they stop, are not uncommon. Scientists explain that this phenomenon can be similar to drug use or alcohol addiction.
- There were 35 foods on the list that the respondents considered. Not surprisingly, fruits and vegetables -- strawberries, carrots, and broccoli, for example -- were not chosen very often as gotta-have-it indulgences.
- Pizza is particularly addictive because of its tempting combination of ingredients, from the doughy crust to the tangy yet sweet tomato sauce to the gooey mozzarella cheese. Combine that with the enticing smell and feel of a warm slice and you have a sensory experience that will make your brain (and stomach) very happy indeed.