All of us are taught ever since our childhood that ‘addiction’ is bad! However what’s implicit in such lessons is the limited view that is attached to the word ‘addiction’. It’s usually attributed to alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. However, addiction when studied in consumption behavior is not really limited to the “deadly triad” referred above. Our daily dose of processed foods also contains a lot of items that are as addictive as any of these. What all factors can make any food addictive, range from its smell to its taste, and as weird as it may seem, even to its sound! After all, it’s all related to our brain and the pleasure centres that are located within. Once they get going, it’s hard to stop. But what gets them going? How can a bunch of calories and carbohydrates make us go gaga? Well, to answer these questions, you must first know those addictive foods. So, here’s the list of 10 most addictive foods in the world!
10. Bubble gum
Most of us have habit of chewing gum when we’re getting bored or we’re travelling or someone around us just happens to have one. However, most of the gums, particularly those which are high in sugar content, can cause severe addictions. Addictions related to chewing a gum have a psychological aspect to them as well. Chewing gums as a habit can lead to a compulsive behavior whereby you find this activity as a surrogate to other addictions as well. You might even end up having a chewing habit which extends to inedible items as well such as pencils or even your nails.
9. Oreo Cookies
Oreos or for that matter, any other type of cookies attract the pleasure cells of our brain in more than one ways. First of all, the sound of biting a cookie with our teeth constitutes an addictive tendency. Yes, as weird as that might sound, it really happens. Also, the preservatives that are used to keep the cookies fresh for a long duration contain chemicals like cysteine which go on to regulate the behavior of our hormones in such a way that we find ourselves craving for another bite, again and again.
8. French Fries
McDonald’s is clearly to be blamed for this one. The fast food chain has successfully planted fries as a staple item on most people’s tables when there’s absolutely no need for them. French fries contain large amounts of fat and starch that is highly processed, as a result of which, it fulfills the need for its own need! The Michigan University in one of its researches conducted a survey which revealed that of all the fast food items out there, fries ranked among the highest which people found difficult to stop eating. A reason for this can also be attributed to various marketing strategies they are sold with. Lucrative packaging and aesthetically pleasing forms that French fries come in, only make it harder to resist the urge of consuming them.
7. Soda , Coffee and Aerated drinks
A can of Coke is a bizarre mixture of extremely high levels of sugar (or even worse, high fructose corn syrup), corrosive phosphoric acid, ‘natural’ caramel coloring, and a well known drug that has a powerful effect on your brain chemistry – caffeine. Aside from the carbonated water and flavorings, the last ingredient in cola, caffeine, is the reason why it is so addictive. Caffeine is the world’s most popular psychoactive drug and it’s reported that more than 80% of us have it in some form every day. Soon after we drink Coke or coffee with high levels of caffeine in them, it is absorbed through our intestines and into our blood. For some people, this feels like a blast of energy. For others, it’s more like anxiety. Caffeine addicts tend to need more and more of it over time. The disappointment they experience when they are not able to get their regular cup of coffee speaks volumes about this addiction.
Muffins are one of those items which harm you and your metabolism in multiple ways. With one of the highest calorie content out there, it can damage both your health and appetite. When eating a muffin, your hunger is neutralized in a way that you do not feel the urge to eat anything else but it surely doesn’t feed you with enough nutrients. With more than 300 calories packed into an average muffin, the sugary taste makes it very hard to stop once you’ve started with one.
5. Ice cream
If you’ve singlehandedly polished off an entire pint of ice cream more times than you’d like to admit, it’s not your fault. Fat, sugar and calorie-laden food items have all been proven to activate the pleasure centers of the brain and this creamy treat is loaded with all three! Combine that with its addictive melt-in-your-mouth sensation, and it’s clear as to why it’s so hard to put down the spoon after starting in on that Chunky Monkey. The cold soothing sensation of ice combined together with flavors of sugar and candy also appeal to our buds. This is one of the reasons why most of us are hooked to it right from our childhood. A research revealed that eating one’s favorite ice cream gives pleasure that we get from listening to our favorite song! Now this is enough evidence that a cup of choco-vanilla is addictive, big time!
4. Wafers and Chips
Like gums, the addiction of chips also has a psychological and physiological dimension to it. The compulsive behavior we develop upon munching chips when we’re free or travelling somewhere takes no time in developing into an addiction. Also, being one of the basic ingredients of any food item, salt appeals to our taste buds just like sugar. When combined with flavors sweet and sour, it results in activation of our pleasure cells and we find it hard to stop ourselves from eating those chips. Also, preservatives used in manufacturing wafers contain chemicals that cause addiction.
Popularly known as ‘the holiday food’, chocolate scores on all categories i.e. physiological, psychological and emotional as well. A mixture of sweetness and calories, chocolates contain serotonin which when enter our brain cells, regulate our mood, behavior and appetite. That is why it is also a popular aphrodisiac. Upon eating a bar of chocolate, we get a certain high and crave for it again and again leading to an addiction in no time. Not only this, a survey has even found hormonal links between chocolates and menstruating habits of women. Women in this study were found to crave for chocolates during specific periods on monthly basis that suggested this link.
A whopper or a Mac is a childhood friend to many of us. For most of us, an outing menu has had a cheeseburger in it almost every time. But is it so simple? Do we happen to like a burger just because of its taste? Maybe yes or maybe no! High on cheese and other preservative foods like sauce and mayonnaise, a burger is a perfect recipe for causing addiction. The fulfillment it gives us upon eating is heightened by the fact that it has almost everything. Vegetables to bun, cheese to sauce and when complemented with a can of diet soda, it just blows off our minds! However, this is exactly why it has been a number one cause of an obese America since decades. Once kids have it, they keep having it, and they just never stop!
This guy here can easily be called the king of fast foods. With a presence around the globe, it has successfully found a place in almost every restaurant menu. Well, it has found a place somewhere else as well, in the list of most addictive food items in the world. And not just a place, it has topped this list which was released by University of Michigan. High in cheese and ketchup, it delights our senses when we eat a slice and then want some more. The huge popularity it has gained across the world has only resulted in its availability in other local flavors which has further contributed to its addictive qualities.
Now that you have the list in front of you, can you make out a pattern? If you look upon the above list carefully, you will find that most of these items come under the category of processed foods. So, there’s your answer. Processed food items contain addictive qualities and thus should be consumed carefully within limited quantities. So, next time you find yourselves facing one of these on the table, remember, EXCESS OF EVERYTHING IS BAD!