Pizza Is Officially the Most Addictive Food, Study Says
What’s the most addictive food you know?
Chocolate? Pizza? Fried chicken? Innocent souls?
That was what scientists at the University of Michigan set out to find out recently. Actually, what they were trying to prove is slightly more sinister than that: Their hypothesis was that “highly highly processed foods share pharmacokinetic properties (e.g. concentrated dose, rapid rate of absorption) with drugs of abuse, due to the addition of fat and/or refined carbohydrates and the rapid rate the refined carbohydrates are absorbed into the system.”
In other words: All the foods you love? They are actually like drugs based on how you crave them and how your body processes them.
The study’s authors showed 120 undergrads pictures of 35 common foods presented in pairs, asking them which of the pair the students considered more likely to produce addiction-like eating behaviors.
Foods rich in fat and glycemic load (the amount of carbohydrates in a food multiplied by how quickly it’s metabolized to sugar) were at the top of the list. Chocolate came up first in the comparison portion of the study, followed by ice cream and french fries.
Related: 9 Cool Ways to Hack Your Pizza
But the study authors turned to a larger sample size (384 people) to confirm their findings and ending up getting different results. The survey responders were asked to rate the addictiveness of a given food on a scale of 1 to 7, and pizza ended up topping the scale with an average score of 4.01. (Chocolate and potato chips were tied for second at 3.73.)
At the bottom of the scale? Cucumbers, carrots and beans. Water actually came out ahead of all those foods. Sorry, carrots.
“The current study provides preliminary evidence that not all foods are equally implicated in addictive-like eating behavior,” the authors conclude, “and highly processed foods, which may share characteristics with drugs of abuse… appear to be particularly associated with ‘food addiction.'”
But we can still eat pizza, right? We don’t have a problem, we swear.
— Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl