Every foodie has a chink in their armour. It doesn’t matter if you’re a dedicated dieter or a professional eater, there are a few foods that will always be able to get the better of us. But, as it turns out, it’s not just that we’re pathetic and unable to say no to tasty things. There’s a scientific reason why most of our weaknesses are easy to predict.
According to research from Colorado State University, there is a long list of foods that can turn even the most stoic calorie counter into an addict. Unsurprisingly, most are bad for us and all are delicious. Here are the world’s most addictive foods.
The only non-processed food on the list, the real reason we can’t put down the cheddar is thanks to one specific substance. Casein, present in all dairy products, is known to trigger the brain’s opioid receptors and is also found in many hard drugs.
In addition to the killer combination of sugar and fat that goes into any proper cake, the different textures of soft sponge and icing help add an extra element to every slice, making them more moreish and difficult to ignore after just one bite.
8. Fizzy Drinks (non diet)
Sugar is one of the most addictive substances there is, so anything that has a high concentration is going to be tricky to kick. As some of the sugariest foodstuffs around, fizzy drinks were always going to be among the most addictive foods on earth.
Though the hit of salt and fat from any good cheeseburger adds to its addictive quality, it’s the hidden sugar that really spells trouble. In addition to the added extras found in sauces, many burger buns are also made with far more sugar than traditional bread.
6. Chips/French Fries
It’s easy to think that there’s nothing more to your favourite fast food side dish than potato and a smidgen of oil. Alas not. In addition to the buckets of canola and vegetable oils in which the chips are fried, many fast food chains also include “natural beef flavour”, which breaks down to produce MSG.
5. Ice Cream
The unholy trinity of high-fat, high sugar and casein combine to make ice cream one of the most addictive foods out there. With such a potent coming together it’s small wonder that it has remained the break-up food of choice for decades.
Given that all basic biscuits are essentially just butter, flour and sugar, it’s unsurprising that the hand held treats tick pretty much every addictive box there is. Standing head and shoulders above the rest of the competition, the chocolate chip cookie has been shown to be the most moreish of all the biscuits you can buy.
Though the obvious candidates of sugar, salt and fat clearly play a part in crisps being so tasty, what really puts them this high up the list is their shape. Thanks to their curved, disk-like appearance, crisps are able to stimulate more tastebuds than most foods, giving us more of a hit and more of a reason to keep munching.
It’s easy to get exasperated with a self-described chocoholic. But, as it turns out, there’s more to the condition than loudly complaining about how much you like Dairy Milk. Similar to cheese, scientists have discovered that a substance in chocolate known as enkephalin which can cause opiate-like cravings. The fact that it’s super tasty also doesn’t help.
If there was one food that could be more addictive than something that acts like heroin, it was only ever going to be pizza. Complete with the addictive qualities of cheese, salt, sugar and fat, Colorado State University scientists found that pizza was comfortably the food craved most by test subjects, smashing all competition. Apparently chocohol is not nearly as bad as pizzahol.
It certainly makes things more tricky when the foods we can’t ignore happen to be bad for us. But, as with anything, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of moderation. As long as your habit doesn’t descend into full blown addiction, all should be well.