Guys, drugs are bad, okay? They make you see terrifying things like babies crawling on the ceiling like in the movie Trainspotting. Seriously, don’t Google “meth addict before and after” unless you want to have nightmares tonight. Instead, you should stick to delightful things like cheese, coffee and cookies. They’re not addictive at all. Wait, our fact checker just shook his head. Turns out, there are plenty of things that are just as addictive as drugs, if not more. With that, let’s take a mournful a look at 10 such foods.
Have you ever taken block of cheese out of the fridge with the intention of only eating a couple of slices, but then said “screw it” and ate the whole thing? Tell the truth, son. There are scientific reasons why we can’t stop eating slice after slice of pizza.
The chief culprit: Casomorphins. This sounds like a good name for an alt-rock band, but it’s actually a chemical found in cheese that produces effects similar to morphine and heroin. We aren’t saying eating cheese will turn you into a crackhead, although you might become a Green Bay Packers fan, which we can all agree is just as bad.
You’re certainly familiar with the dessert “death by chocolate” but did you know that this is also a medical condition? Okay, we’re lying. Chocolate is perfectly awesome, but it also contains a whole lot of things that make us crave the hell out of it.
The chief culprit: Where to start? Aside from the wonderful fat, caffeine and sugar, chocolate also contains theobromine, a stimulant that expands blood vessels and triggers a drop in heart rate, resulting in the same relaxed feeling that your stoner roommate Frogger has, like, all the time.
Life would be amazing if the only thing we ate, drank and wore was meat. Or would it? Turns out, while meat is full of protein, amino acids and all sorts of other good nutrients that our muscles need, it also has addictive properties.
The chief culprit: Hypoxanthine. This is a caffeine-like stimulate that makes us satisfied and also makes us crave more meat. Ever see customers at a vegetarian restaurant sitting in the corner of the room shaking and muttering to themselves because none of the dishes contain meat? Okay, we haven’t either. But people who haven’t eaten meat in a while really can suffer from withdrawal. In addition, it is possible to build up tolerance levels to hypoxanthine, which means you would need to eat more meat to maintain the same level of satisfaction.
Shocked that soda made this list? Yeah, so were we. We had put high fructose corn syrup water right up there with broccoli in terms of healthy food choices until we discovered the real facts. Oh, and if you think diet sodas are the answer, the science is basically laughing at your face.
The chief culprit: Caffeine… it’s all about caffeine addiction. And the solution is to either stop drinking soda, or barricade the front door after a paranoid-stricken caffeine fit. I personally like that second option myself.
5. Oreo Cookies
Eating an entire bag of Oreos is impressive. And when we say “impressive” we actually mean “deadly.” Wait, no. Our legal team are sternly shaking their heads. So, yeah, like most things Oreos are perfectly fine in moderation, but if studies on rats are to be believed, they are plenty addictive.
The chief culprit: On my… everything in Oreos, perhaps? The aforementioned study on rats found that when our rodent friends with the scaly tails ate Oreos, the pleasure center of their brain was more excited compared to when they were injected with cocaine! Oh, the same study found that rats prefer Oreos to rice cakes. Thanks, Captain Obvious.
6. Potato Chips
Let’s face it, it really is almost impossible to open up a bag of chips and not eat all those gosh darn suckers. Pardon the language! Anyway, let’s get straight to the point and find out why this is.
The chief culprit: Dopamine. When eating a highly satisfied bag of salty, fried spuds, our brain releases dopamine, the chemical that makes us feel sky high. In fact, studies have found that when participants viewed pictures of junk food such as potato chips, it excited the same part of the brain as images of alcohol did for boozehounds!
You might imagine wheat as something super healthy, especially in gluten-free form. But don’t be fooled, fellas. The wheat grown today (even the kind without gluten!) is nothing like the kind our grandparents ate back in the day. It contains all sorts of stuff that messes with the body.
The culprit: Polypeptides. The addictive proteins added to wheat enter the bloodstream as polypeptides, which create both a high and cravings. Wheat has also been linked to cancer, heart disease, obesity, and a whole slew of other sad things that nobody wants.
Say, did you know that the average American drinks three cups of coffee a day? Why do you think that is? We’ll give you a moment to scratch your chin and say “hmm” before we reveal the answer. Okay, ready?
The culprit: Caffeine. Obviously. This is the most addictive and widely used drug, after all. When we drink the high amount of caffeine contained in coffee, it perks us up and gives us the same feeling that we’d get from other drugs. Not drinking coffee in the morning leads to headaches and jitters, which in turn makes us want it even more. So next time you go into a Starbucks, point at the barista and say, “How dare you!” And then run out, giggling like a maniac.
9. Ice Cream
Yeah, sorry. Ice cream made this list too. Did we just ruin your summer?
The culprit: sweet, creamy, sugary goodness. A study conducted at the Oregon Research Institute discovered something unique about ice cream cravings. They had one group of teenagers eat ice cream over an extended period of time, while they had a control group that did not. Then they had both groups drink milkshakes (which, as you know, bring all the boys to the yard, at least in theory). Those who were not part of the ice cream eating group were like, “These milkshakes are pretty awesome” while the ice cream eaters were like, “Meh.” In other words, even milkshakes are a step down from our favorite frozen treat!
10. Table Sugar
Okay, we don’t want to freak you out…but holy crap, gang! The fact that sugar and cocaine look the exact same isn’t the only thing that they have in common.
The culprit: Dopamine (again!) A study at Queensland University of Technology found that sugar has all of the same addictive qualities of cocaine. For instance, those who wean themselves off of sugar suffer from the same depression and other withdrawal symptoms that are consistent with cokeheads. Think we’re kidding? Consider this: the FDA recently approved the use of varenicline (used for treating nicotine withdrawal) to also treat those who’ve kicked the sugar habit.