A new analysis from the University of Michigan and Virginia Tech shows that addiction to ultra-processed foods meets the criteria for tobacco addiction.
Can ultra-processed foods be addictive? This is a question that researchers have been discussing for years. To find the answer, the scientists looked at the criteria for evidence that tobacco is addictive and applied them to food.
According to the criteria formulated for tobacco addiction, the results show that ultra-processed foods have the ability to create addiction to foods such as potato chips, cookies, ice cream, and french fries and other foods rich in refined fats and fast carbohydrates.
In evidence, the scientists included the following facts about ultra-processed foods: “They cause compulsive use, where people are unable to reduce their consumption even in the face of life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. They can change how we feel and cause brain changes comparable in magnitude to nicotine in tobacco products. They cause a strong desire to eat them regardless of hunger.
Highly processed food quickly delivers extremely high doses of refined fats and carbohydrates, which causes the body to become addicted. “It’s time to stop thinking of highly processed foods as just food and start thinking of them as highly refined substances that can be addictive,” the scientists said.