Although you probably won’t be out on the streets hustling for a stuffed crust pepperoni, a recent study has found that pizza has some very addictive properties.
The University of Michigan study, published in the US National Library of Medicine, examined which foods caused people to display addictive tendencies. Using a sample of 504 students, the study found that pizza came out on top (perhaps unsurprisingly).
Nearly unanimously, the list of foods that caused “addictive-like eating” were all highly processed items such as pizza, chocolate, cake and French fries. Processed foods tend to contain a high “dose” of fats and carbohydrates while also being more quickly absorbed by the body. Much like the effect of addictive drugs on our neural circuitry, these two factors cause the reward-related areas of our brain to go into hyperdrive. According to the study, the highly processed foods loaded with sugars and fats can cause changes in the dopamine system – involved in reward and pleasure – akin to drug abuse.