Health Eating: Just can’t get enough .
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
From popcorn and pretzels, to doughnuts, coffee and
chocolates, we all have foods that we crave and rely on to get through the day.
But is it more than that? You often hear people claim that they are addicted to
certain foods, but can you actually be addicted to a food or ingredient, as in
Here is rundown of five of the most addictive foods:
We all know that sugar is bad for our teeth and can cause us to gain
weight – so why do we crave it all the time? Even the strictest of dieters will
get a craving for something sweet now and again. So what power does sugar have
over us? Studies have found that sugar can actually be addictive. Consuming
sugar causes the body to release dopamine and serotonin, which cause us to feel
pleasure. But once sugar leaves the bloodstream, our bodies begin to instantly
crave the feeling again and so the cycle repeats itself.
The more sugar you
consume, the more you crave it, which causes you to have to eat more to get the
results you want. When sugar enters the bloodstream it causes the pancreas to
release insulin. Unfortunately, excess insulin also encourages fat storage. So,
the more sugar you eat, the more insulin you produce, and the more likely you
are to gain weight.
Compulsive gum chewer
For many, gum is an impulse
purchase – something you perhaps buy to freshen your breath after lunch out with
friends or to have a nice flavor in our mouth for a few minutes. But for some,
chewing gum can actually turn into an addiction.
Many people use gum to stop
them from snacking on food, and when you repeatedly chew gum to stop yourself
from eating it can become somewhat addictive. Now it’s great if you pop a piece
of sugar-free gum instead of downing a croissant in the morning or a bowl of ice
cream in the evening, but excessive gum chewing is not healthy in the least.
Constant gum chewing causes aching jaws, dental problems and even
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When waking up in the morning, aside from
getting dressed and brushing teeth – what else do most people do? Pour (or buy)
a cup of coffee. Many of us feel that we can’t start the day without some sort
of caffeinated beverage – whether it be a cappuccino, an espresso or just a
regular cup of coffee. The day just doesn’t feel right without the stuff.
Caffeine is a mild stimulant, and so it makes us feel more energized. So when we
skip our morning coffee, we may feel less pumped than if we had had it. Another
reason though for our caffeine dependency may be more physiological than
physical. We may actually be addicted to the belief that we can't function
without our morning cup of coffee. Unlike some of the other culprits on this
list, caffeine (in moderate intakes) can really do no harm, In fact, studies
have found that it helps to reduce headaches and also helps make pain relievers
act quicker and more effective at treating headaches. Chocoholic
probably heard your friends (or even yourself) confess to being a chocoholic.
Chocolate by far is one of the most widely craved foods, but can you really be a
One reason that many people claim to have an addiction is that
chocolate does contain mood enhancing chemical compounds including serotonin and
tryptophan. However, before justifying your cravings as an addiction, studies
have found that many other foods that are less “appealing” than chocolate have
higher concentrations of these compounds. Salty foodlover
You’ve probably heard
Pringle’s slogan “Once you pop you can’t stop?” While a very catchy advertising
message, there may actually be some truth behind the saying. Snacks such as
chips, pretzels and popcorn are high in salt, one of the most easily
recognizable flavors in food. We crave salt on our food because it tastes good,
and that pleasurable feeling reacts with the reward center of our brain, which
makes it hard to cut back and stop even though we know that we should. As a
result, most of us consume too much of it on a daily basis. Eating too much salt
forces our kidneys to work overtime and can lead to water retention (bloating),
high blood pressure and even congestive heart failure.
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