If ever you needed proof that a junk food addiction could be equated to a drug addiction, a new study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has found that sugar addiction is eight times more addictive than cocaine.
Researchers found that behaviors and attitudes surrounding some types of food closely followed addiction patterns. On a seven-point scale, the most addictive foods were pizza (which can have more hidden sugar in the tomato sauce than a few Oreos), chocolate, chips, cookies and ice cream. Among the least addictive are cucumbers, carrots, beans, apples and brown rice.
Dr. Nicole Avena, one of the study’s researchers, found that behaviors and attitudes toward some foods closely mirror addiction patterns. The most addictive foods are the ones which are high on the glycemic index.
“Several studies really do suggest that highly-palatable, highly-processed foods can produce behaviors and changes in the brain that one would use to diagnose an addiction, like drugs and alcohol,” Avena says.
Eating sugar in processed foods spikes our sugar, then spikes insulin levels. These hormonal disturbances create more belly fat, and then trigger a hunger for more sweets and starchy junk food.
While it can take six weeks to kick a sugar addiction, it can cause strong cravings almost like a drug withdrawal. But the long term benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease, are worth it.
So what should you eat? Stick to the basics: Lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts, berries and fish, chicken breast and water.
Information gathered from The Huffington Post.