New research shows that we are becoming increasingly addicted to ultra-processed food or junk food, consisting of carbonated beverages, cookies, chocolate, chips and a host of other tasty treats that are not necessarily good for our health.
An analysis of 281 studies in 36 countries by U.S. scientists (available in the British Medical Journal), found that 14% of adults and 12% of children have food addiction, particularly to ultra-processed foods.
Prof. Ashley Gearhardt of the University of Michigan recalled the extreme cases she had seen while leading this study. One patient with type 2 diabetes still continued to eat whole boxes of donuts, despite knowing it could lead to limb loss, blindness and death.
Not all ultra-processed foods are addictive. Things like meat alternatives and plant-based milk are designed for a purpose, while sweet and salty snacks are instead designed to keep you coming back for more.
“UPF’s primary goal is profit and financial growth.” says Dr. Chris van Tulleken to The Guardian.
It’s different from making your own fatty foods at home, because you have to put the ingredients together to make a cake or batch of cookies. They’re not nearly as addictive as the UPFs you find in stores, apparently.
So when your mom says we have food at home, maybe listen to it to avoid food addiction.