Daydreaming about your dessert? Noticing that you have a lot more crackers than cheese left on the platter? Turns out that there is scientific evidence for your food addiction.
According to the authors of a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, fatty, processed foods such as cake and cheese are the drugs of the food world.
About 120 participants in the study completed the Yale Food Addiction Scale, a survey designed to uncover if someone has a specific food addiction, and of the 35 foods included – pizza topped the list as most addictive. The addictive foods in the study, conducted by the University of Michigan, shared some of the same characteristics as addictive drugs, such as rapid rate of absorption.
The most addictive foods were processed to have an artificially high level of both sugar and fat (which rarely occurs naturally), the study said.
Registered dietitian Cameron Wells specifically pointed to cheese as a major culprit (hence pizza's reign over the list in the study) because of the way ingredients in cheese react when broken down. They “really play with the dopamine receptors and trigger that addictive element" by triggering reward and pleasure responses, she told Mic.com.
While it may not be an excuse to grab that second slice of pizza (or the third, or ...), it is a sound, scientific reason for wanting to do so.