Is Food Addiction A Real Thing?

August 19, 2015


You probably heard from numerous people (and you may have even said it a couple of times yourself) that they’re self-proclaimed food addicts?

You take it in as you hear not, not really thinking whether the thing really exists or s it just an excuse for people who don’t have characters strong enough to endure the troubles of ditching unhealthy eating habits.

You probably felt a few times as you could not ever stop eating something if you life depended on it, and it doesn’t have to be just some type of food – it can also be a type of food made in a particular way, as for say pizza from your favorite pizza place. But does food addiction really exist and are certain people more prone to being addicted to certain foods?

Although the concept of food addiction is pretty controversial among researchers in the field, and is taken pretty lightly, there is a lot of new evidence that shows that fatty, highly-processed, and sugary foods are really problematic to ditch, and yes, you can even say they are addicting.

The Research

With numerous studies on obesity and eating disorder treatments emerging every few days, Dr. Nicole Avena from the Icahn School of medicine at Mount Sinai decided she should take on the subject of food addiction and figure out as much as she can.

The scientist asked 504 participants to identify the foods that caused them the most problems, by asking them to count the number of times they’ve agreed with sentences like “I eat to the point where I feel physically ill,” “I spend a lot of time feeling sluggish or fatigued from overeating,” etc.

Avena then averaged the scored for different types of foods and ranked them accordingly, from most to least problematic (based on a 7-point scale, where 1 represents a food that’s not problematic at all, and 7 represents a food that’s extremely problematic).

The Results

The results were not surprising at all, with pizza being the most addictive kind of food, rating t 4.01. Chocolate, chips, cookies, and ice cream were closely behind the Italian favorite, rating from 3.73 (chocolate) to 3.68 (ice cream).

As for the least addictive foods, there was nothing to question there, as cucumber without any sort of dip rated as the ultimate least addictive food with its 1.53 points. Carrots, beans (without any sauce), apples, and plain brown rice followed closely behind.