In a new study, researchers found that junk food, or highly processed food, can be as addictive as drugs.
This is because this type of food share the same properties, such as the rate at which the body absorbs, processes and excretes a substance, with drugs of abuse.
The finding suggests that unhealthy diets could harm people’s health and that they should be cut from the daily diet.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Michigan.
Highly processed food like french fries and cakes are high in fat and carbs, which can be more rapidly delivered into our body than natural foods high in fiber, protein, and water.
The natural food could help slow the rate that sugar enters the bloodstream.
In the study, the team surveyed 504 people about their eating habits. Based on food ratings, they found the top 10 most addictive foods:
The finding suggests that highly processed foods were most likely to be linked to addictive-like eating.
Most of these foods are high in added sugar or salt, carbs and unhealthy fat, which could increase risks of many chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.
The researchers hope their finding could help impact nutrition guidelines and improve public policy initiatives such as marketing these foods to children.
One author of the study is Erica Schulte, a U-M psychology doctoral student.
The study is published in PLOS ONE.
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