According to a survey by researchers from the University of Michigan, pizza is the most addictive food in the world. Researchers say that pizza is capable of triggering an addictive response that may lead to unintentional overeating.
The research team says that highly processed foods share the same properties with drugs of abuse such as concentrated dose and rapid rate of absorption. They add that this is due to the addition of fat and refined carbohydrates and the rapid absorption of the refined carbohydrates.
Addictiveness is defined as loss of control over consumption, the continued use of a substance despite the negative effects and the inability to reduce intake regardless of the desire to do so. The study involved assessing 504 participants about which foods where the most irresistible with two surveys.
The first survey was conducted to 120 undergraduate students. These participants were asked to fill out the Yale Food Addiction Scale and asked to say which food is more likely to create addiction-like behaviours through a presentation of images of 35 common foods.
Chocolate finished on top followed by ice cream and french fries. Overall, foods that ranked the highest were the foods that have a lot of fat and glycemic load, which estimates how much the food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after eating it. Plus, drinks with higher alcohol content were preferred than the ones without or lesser alcohol content.
Still, the researchers remained unconvinced and decided to conduct another survey. A bigger one was done online with 384 participants, in which addictiveness of each food was rated on a scale of 1-7. The researchers discovered that pizza ranked first, which had a mean score of 4.01, with chocolate and chips ranking second place with a mean score of 3.73.
The team notes that coffee was not among the 35 foods. Nevertheless, all foods with a lot of sugar ranked high and unsurprisingly, carrots, cucumber and beans ranked the lowest.