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Food Cravings and Highly Processed Foods

Of course some foods are addictive. Anyone who tries to eat just one french fry or one piece of chocolate or one potato chip knows that it's very, very hard to do that. Do people have raw carrot cravings? Nah... Chocolate cravings? Yup..Does this research really tell us anything new? From Science Daily:

Want pizza, chocolate, French fries? Highly processed foods linked to addictive eating

A new University of Michigan study confirms what has long been suspected: highly processed foods like chocolate, pizza and French fries are among the most addictive.

This is one of the first studies to examine specifically which foods may be implicated in "food addiction," which has become of growing interest to scientists and consumers in light of the obesity epidemic.Previous studies in animals conclude that highly processed foods, or foods with added fat or refined carbohydrates (like white flour and sugar), may be capable of triggering addictive-like eating behavior. Clinical studies in humans have observed that some individuals meet the criteria for substance dependence when the substance is food.

Unprocessed foods, with no added fat or refined carbohydrates like brown rice and salmon, were not associated with addictive-like eating behavior.

Individuals with symptoms of food addiction or with higher body mass indexes reported greater problems with highly processed foods, suggesting some may be particularly sensitive to the possible "rewarding" properties of these foods, said Erica Schulte, a U-M psychology doctoral student and the study's lead author...."This is a first step towards identifying specific foods, and properties of foods, which can trigger this addictive response," she said. "This could help change the way we approach obesity treatment. It may not be a simple matter of 'cutting back' on certain foods, but rather, adopting methods used to curtail smoking, drinking and drug use.

Highly processed foods like chocolate, pizza, and french fries are among the most addictive. Credit: photka/Fotolia