Watch Out, These Foods Are Actually Addictive
You know how hard it is to stop eating certain foods, or even to get them off your mind? There’s a reason for that besides the fact that they are just plain delicious. Both sugar and high fat content can ignite the areas of the brain they are responsible for rewards, meaning your brain confuses your greasy snack food for a very very good thing and urges you to get some more in your body and fast. Here are some of the most addictive foods out there and what to do about it.
Sorry guys. Pizza is full of refined flour which makes it a high glycemic food. When your blood sugar spikes too quickly when you eat refined flour it makes you crash later and crave more of the stuff. Refined flours don’t act much differently in the body than sugars do. But that’s not all, the high fat content from the pizza further exacerbated the issue by activating the part of the brain that deals with tactile thing. Simply put, your mouth is enjoying the feeling of all that grease as much as your tongue is enjoying the taste.
Cheese is also considered one of the most addictive foods, so you can see where this is going. There’s a lot going on and it can make pizza one of the most difficult to stop craving. But this doesn’t mean you need to completely cut pizza out of your life. Try making your own with whole grain crusts (or cauliflower crusts, even better), and top it with tons of vegetables that will help keep your blood sugar stable with their high fiber content. You can still use cheese, just use it lightly or switch to a lower fat option like sprinkled feta.
Similarly to pizza, chips are full of fat, salt, and feel oh so good in the mouth. Those slogans alluding to the fact that you can’t eat just one have some truth to them. The best way to avoid a chip and dip binge is just to never start it, but if you’re going to be snacking at a party and that isn’t possible, be smart. Drink water between bites or pop a piece of gum into your mouth when you’re done eating. Mindless grazing just doesn’t happen when you have something minty in your mouth.
Chocolate makes the list with its high sugar and fat content. It also melts in your mouth so it ignites the tactile part of the brain as well. When you must have a piece of chocolate, try to keep it as dark as possible which will be less refined than the milk varieties. The closer to its natural form the better. Also, never eat chocolate on an empty stomach since it will spike your blood sugar like crazy. Save it for a post meal snack and stick to a serving size to avoid issues.
Keep in mind that high fat isn’t necessarily an issue, we just want to eat it in its purest form. Avocados and nuts for example have all kinds of health benefits and can actually be a part of your weight loss efforts when done in the right portion control. If you have a hard time stopping with the nuts as well, switch to the salt free variety which obviously will taste a little less scrumptious. Keep it clean.
This should be a no brainer but soda is basically just sugar water, and that overload of the sweet stuff gets addictive fast. Some researchers go so far as to say that sugar can be as addictive as drugs like cocaine because of how it overstimulates the reward center in your brain. If you need to cut back, try mixing calorie free soda water (not tonic) into the mix. Once you wean yourself off the sugar you’ll stop craving it and realize how much better you feel without it.
About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.