A new study from the University of Michigan found that highly processed foods – think pizza, French fries and chocolate – are the most addictive.
The research, which is one of the first to study the specific foods that can be held responsible for food addiction, found that those with high BMI’s had a tendency to over-indulge when it came to highly-processed foods. Previous studies in animals also concluded that foods with “fat or refined carbohydrates” such as white flour and sugar are capable of triggering addict-like behavior.
Unprocessed foods like brown rice and salmon were not linked to the same behavior.
“This is a first step towards identifying specific foods, and properties of foods, which can trigger this addictive response,” says study co-author Nicole Avena. “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.”