Wondering which delectable culinary delights or guilty pleasures are the most addictive foods in the world? Of course everyone loves food to one degree or another. Over the course of our extensive careers as professional eaters (which we all are), we find a number of different foods we just love the taste, texture, or feel of. Some things are simply irresistible to us. But, why?
Well, it seems that food not only contributes to our overall body need for nutrients, but also produces some interesting reactions in our brain. With the development of the food industry, some processed products have managed to create perfect snacks which provide chemical levels of satisfaction and pleasure. Yale University’s Food Addiction Scale has put these foods, because of their amount of chemicals, in the same category as drugs of abuse. Taking a look at the 10 Most Addictive Drugs In the World, it is clear that the thing about drugs and the dependence they create resides on the effects of instant pleasure they provide. Some powerful drugs such as Heroin, Methamphetamine, or even Nicotine can be extremely addictive, and might even lead to strong physical dependencies. Unfortunately, the same is true of foods, and as mentioned, food researchers are fully exploiting this to create the most addictive foods in the world in an effort to hook consumers and grow sales.
Over the past decades, researchers have studied the reaction of different products and foods on brain chemicals, and have find out that food can indeed produce addiction. No wonder obesity is one of the major pathologies among different countries, like the United States. Cookies, candies, snacks, processed foods, and other foods can create strong addictions, and even lead to serious health problems. Nevertheless, one doesn’t instantly become addicted to a certain food, just by eating it every once in a while.
So, are you curious what the most addictive foods in the world are? Take a look at the list we have cooked up and tell us what you think!
No.7 White Bread
White bread is definitely not one of the healthiest things we can be eating, which is a shame since it’s so addictive. Made with refined flour, white bread has almost none of the nutrients present in whole grain bread, as the germ and the bran have to be taken away to make the flour white. This sort of bread is extremely addictive as it tricks the stomach, allowing you to eat a whole basket.
No.6 Potato Chips
Potato chips are very addictive. They are fried, high in fat and salt, and everyone knows they shouldn’t eat them if they want to stay healthy. Yet, this combination is precisely what leaves everyone craving for just one more. Fat and salt make a blend that triggers satisfaction points in the brain, producing an instant yearning for more. Moreover, their crunchiness and the ability to compulsively snack on them can alleviate anxiety, introducing another factor of addiction for fans of chips.
No.5 Processed Meat and Burgers
Burgers and other processed meats are known to have rather uncool effects on health. Not only are they high in fat, but they can also increase cholesterol and blood pressure. But what’s interesting about burgers is that this food can actually cause addiction because of its combination of fat, salt and sugar. This mixture triggers the brain’s “bliss point”, making it release high amounts of pleasure, and subsequently, cravings for more. Moreover, given that meat releases opiate-like substances during digestion, it is thought to produce some hard withdrawal symptoms as well.
Why do we love pizzas and cheeseburgers so much? Well, say cheese! This food is definitely a widely-craved one. The reason we love cheese so much is because of the addictive properties of it. Opiates present in cheese can be highly addictive, and phenylethylamine can produce stimulant effects. Moreover, cheese contains high levels of casein which replicates some of the effects of morphine, releasing an opiate compound called casomorphins during digestion. No doubt we love it so much…
Well, everyone knows some ice-cream, candy, or other sugary treat can prove quite satisfactory. Indeed, sugar is one of the most addictive foods around. Why? The thing is that sugar can be addictive precisely because of some of its chemical components. Sugar contains chemicals called opioids, which are released by the brain and lead to intense feelings of pleasure. Some researchers have studied this addiction, and discovered that when its consumption is cut, withdrawal symptoms appear, which include shaking and changes in brain chemistry. That’s why consuming sugar can develop strong dependencies and should always be kept under control. While fat once got all the bad press, sugar consumption is now being blamed for the obesity epidemic.
Although it might not be considered “food”, coffee is undoubtedly one of the main ingredients in almost everyone’s diet. Starting the day with a fresh cup of coffee is probably one of the most common routines in western societies. Yet, drinking coffee every day to wake up might just have something to do with the characteristics of caffeine, and not just a matter of customs. Some debate has taken place regarding whether the caffeine can actually produce addiction. The thing with caffeine is that abstaining from having coffee might carry some severe symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches or even depression.
Chocolate is the number one most addictive food. Why? Well, the thing is that chocolate actually makes people feel “happy” by imitating dopamine reactions within the brain. And yes, many people claim to be chocoholics. Chocolate has some chemical compounds such as theobromine, phenyethylamine, anandamide and tryptophan, which actually have pleasure-inducing effects. Moreover, chocolate also contains alkaloids, present in alcohol. Yet, the good thing about this food is that chocolate has a lot of good qualities as well. Of course, you have to choose dark chocolate, with no additives, if you wish to benefit from these good properties.