February 25, 2015
Pizza, french fry and chocolate lovers beware.
A new study from the University of Michigan confirms our biggest fear that highly processed foods are among the most addictive.
The study examines specifically which foods may be responsible for "food addiction," or addictive-like eating.
The current study provides preliminary evidence that not all foods are equally implicated in addictive-like eating behavior, and highly processed foods, which may share characteristics with drugs of abuse (e.g. high dose, rapid rate of absorption) appear to be particularly associated with “food addiction.”
"If properties of some foods are associated with addictive eating for some people, this may impact nutrition guidelines, as well as public policy initiatives such as marketing these foods to children," Erica Schulte, a psychology doctoral student and the study's lead author, said in a statement.
The findings could also be incentive for schools to implement stronger nutrition standards, as kids consume up to half of their daily calories in schools.
The researchers argue that future research should examine whether addictive foods are capable of triggering changes in brain circuitry and behavior like "drugs of abuse."