Healthy Byte: “Betcha can’t eat just one”

Remember this early 90s campaign?

 

Turns out there’s some truth to it.

Ever been elbows-deep in a jumbo bag of potato chips, telling yourself just a few more, but stopping when only crumbs remain? Ever baked a pan brownies and shaved just a few millimeters from the edge every time you walked into the kitchen? Ever go to the movies and just had to get buttery popcorn? We like to call these trigger foods and some people are more prone to lose control than others. But the first step in breaking their hold is understanding why they hypnotize us in the first place.

(Photo: Getty Images)

For starters, it’s basically encoded in our DNA to binge on salty, fatty, and sugary foods, or on various combinations of the three. Back in the day, foods with high levels of these nutrients (and ergo, lots of calories) were rarely found in nature, so when our hunter-gatherer ancestors discovered them, they ate them to completion to ensure they wouldn’t, you know, die of starvation later.

Unfortunately, that same instinct now primes us for binging on junk, says Gary Wenk, PhD, author of Your Body on Food. Whenever you eat super sugary, salty, and/or fatty foods, the dopamine neurons in your brain become very active, producing feelings of pleasure that encourage you to “eat that again!” These also happen to be the neurons that are activated after someone takes cocaine or meth. Yikes, right? That makes those brownies legitimately addicting.

(Photo: Getty Images)

But what are the absolute biggest trigger foods? Foods that combine salt, sweet, and/or fat, like pizza (salt-fat), donuts (sweet-fat), and peanut-butter pretzels (sweet-salt-fat) will lead to the most cravings and tendency to overeat, says Wenk, noting that these flavors work synergistically to enhance each other’s addictive properties.

How to break free? The key is to snack on something that captures the essence of what you’re craving, but that’s far less addicting—that is, the food doesn’t combine high levels of sugar and fat or salt and fat (or all three). That might mean opting for plain roasted nuts over salted and roasted nuts, apples sautéed in a little coconut oil instead of apple pie, a square of 70% cocoa dark chocolate instead of a half a sheet of double fudge brownies, or a coffee with almond milk and a dash of cinnamon instead of a pumpkin spice latte. These help at least partially satisfy the itch without setting you off on a junk food bender.

One thing to take comfort in: Our brains are very plastic, or adaptable to change, and learn to crave the molecules they’re exposed to on a daily basis, says Wenk. In other words, the more you make you’re new healthy snacks a habit, the more you’ll crave them and the less you’ll fall victim to drug-like trigger foods.

Originally Posted HERE

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Most Addictive Foods

Pizza, French fries and ice cream may be the kinds of foods many of us love to indulge in after a night of drinking. But recent research suggest we can actually have benders on these foods all by themselves, and it may even be a sign of an addiction.

Researchers have wondered whether we can become addicted to food for more than a century. There have been reports of people losing control over how much they eat, and experiencing withdrawal when they are cut off, just like with drug and alcohol addiction. By now, many agree that food addiction can be a real problem for at least some types of foods.

For the first time, a team of researchers looked at exactly which types of foods could be the most addictive. They asked a group of 120 undergraduates at the University of Michigan, and another group of nearly 400 adults, about 35 different types of food — from pizza to broccoli — and whether they think they could have problems controlling how much they ate of each one. Eighteen of the items were processed foods, meaning they contained added sugars and fats.

Topping the list were pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies, ice cream, French fries, cake and soda, all considered processed foods. They were followed by cheese and bacon — both unprocessed fo

Pizza, French fries and ice cream may be the kinds of foods many of us love to indulge in after a night of drinking. But research earlier this year suggests we can actually have benders on these foods all by themselves, and it may even be a sign of an addiction.

Researchers have wondered whether we can become addicted to food for more than a century. There have been reports of people losing control over how much they eat, and experiencing withdrawal when they are cut off, just like with drug and alcohol addiction. By now, many agree that food addiction can be a real problem for at least some types of foods.

For the first time, a team of researchers looked at exactly which types of foods could be the most addictive. They asked a group of 120 undergraduates at the University of Michigan, and another group of nearly 400 adults, about 35 different types of food — from pizza to broccoli — and whether they think they could have problems controlling how much they ate of each one. Eighteen of the items were processed foods, meaning they contained added sugars and fats.

Topping the list were pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies, ice cream, French fries, cake and soda, all considered processed foods. They were followed by cheese and bacon — both unprocessed foods, but high in fat and salt.

Step away from the burger: Why a ‘Western’ diet is bad for your health

Fruits and vegetables (strawberries, carrots and broccoli, for example) were at the bottom of the list.

“In a similar manner that drugs are processed to increase their addictive potential, this study provides insight that highly processed foods may be intentionally manufactured to be particularly rewarding through the addition of fat and refined carbohydrates, like white flour and sugar,” said Erica Schulte, graduate student of psychology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, which was published in February in PLOS One.

The researchers found that the most problematic foods tended to be those with a high glycemic load, meaning they contained a lot of sugar and caused a spike in blood sugar. The authors wrote that these qualities could make foods more difficult to stop eating in a similar way as drugs that are highly concentrated and rapidly absorbed into the body are more addictive.

The researchers also found that, among the adults in their study, those with a high BMI and those who were at risk of having any kind of food addiction were most likely to have difficulty controlling themselves around a particular food item.

The researchers assessed food addiction risk using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which was developed by the study’s lead author, Ashley N. Gearhardt. (You can test your risk of having a food addiction by taking a short version of this survey.)

Although not all foods have the potential to be addictive, “it is critical to understand which ones do,” said Mike Robinson, assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior at Wesleyan University, who was not involved in the current study.

“We are all pressed for time, and food is becoming more and more available,” but we need to think about what we are grabbing on the go, Robinson said. Although a handful of almonds and a milkshake might have the same number of calories, they will have a different effects on your brain and your reward system, and you will be much more likely to go back to get more of the milkshake, he added.

Related: Americans are cutting calories, but far from eating healthy

Many of the symptoms of food addiction look like drug addiction, including that people need more and more of the food item to get the same effect. They also accept negative consequences to obtain it and feel the anxiety or agitation of withdrawal when they can’t have it. Although food withdrawal is not as intense as heroin withdrawal, neither is cocaine withdrawal. “It varies by the drug,” Robinson said.

Just like any addiction, the first step to recovery is to acknowledge there is a problem, Robinson said. “I think in the majority of cases when we have a problem with a substance, whether it’s a food or drug…we will ignore it,” he said.

Robinson suggests avoiding foods if you have trouble controlling how much of them you eat. “We are not in a situation where we will have dietary deficiencies (and) whenever possible we should be aiming to cook foods for ourselves,” he said.

ods, but high in fat and salt.

Fruits and vegetables (strawberries, carrots and broccoli, for example) were at the bottom of the list.

“In a similar manner that drugs are processed to increase their addictive potential, this study provides insight that highly processed foods may be intentionally manufactured to be particularly rewarding through the addition of fat and refined carbohydrates, like white flour and sugar,” said Erica Schulte, graduate student of psychology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, which was published in February in PLOS One.

The researchers found that the most problematic foods tended to be those with a high glycemic load, meaning they contained a lot of sugar and caused a spike in blood sugar. The authors wrote that these qualities could make foods more difficult to stop eating in a similar way as drugs that are highly concentrated and rapidly absorbed into the body are more addictive.

The researchers also found that, among the adults in their study, those with a high BMI and those who were at risk of having any kind of food addiction were most likely to have difficulty controlling themselves around a particular food item.

The researchers assessed food addiction risk using the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which was developed by the study’s lead author, Ashley N. Gearhardt. (You can test your risk of having a food addiction by taking a short version of this survey.)

Although not all foods have the potential to be addictive, “it is critical to understand which ones do,” said Mike Robinson, assistant professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior at Wesleyan University, who was not involved in the current study.

“We are all pressed for time, and food is becoming more and more available,” but we need to think about what we are grabbing on the go, Robinson said. Although a handful of almonds and a milkshake might have the same number of calories, they will have a different effects on your brain and your reward system, and you will be much more likely to go back to get more of the milkshake, he added.

Many of the symptoms of food addiction look like drug addiction, including that people need more and more of the food item to get the same effect. They also accept negative consequences to obtain it and feel the anxiety or agitation of withdrawal when they can’t have it. Although food withdrawal is not as intense as heroin withdrawal, neither is cocaine withdrawal. “It varies by the drug,” Robinson said.

Just like any addiction, the first step to recovery is to acknowledge there is a problem, Robinson said. “I think in the majority of cases when we have a problem with a substance, whether it’s a food or drug…we will ignore it,” he said.

Robinson suggests avoiding foods if you have trouble controlling how much of them you eat. “We are not in a situation where we will have dietary deficiencies (and) whenever possible we should be aiming to cook foods for ourselves,” he said.

Yale Food Addiction Scale

1.     Pizza

2.     Chocolate

3.     Chips

4.     Cookie

5.     Ice Cream

6.     French Fries

7.     Cheeseburger

8.     Non-Diet Soda

9.     Cake

10.  Cheese

11.  Bacon

12.  Fried Chicken

13.  Rolls

14.  Buttered Popcorn

15.  Cereal

16.  Gummies

17.  Steak

18.  Muffins

19.  Nuts

20.  Eggs

21.  Chicken Breast

22.  Pretzels

23.  Plain Crackers

24.  Water

25.  Granola Bar

26.  Strawberries

27.  Corn (without butter or salt)

28.  Salmon

29.  Banana

30.  Broccoli

31.  Plain Brown Rice

32.  Apple

33.  Beans

34.  Carrots

35.  Cucumbers

Originally Posted HERE & HERE

HB Sig