Scientists Explain Why We Love Pizza So Much

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By Jenna Barrington

Ever wondered why in the world we all love pizza so much?

Is it the cheese? The soft doughy bread? The pepperoni? The way it fills and warms you up?

Science may have figured it out.

According to a recently published study by the US National Library of Medicine, pizza is one of the mostly highly addictive foods on the planet.

Those performing the study went so far as to make the claim that pizza and other highly processed foods affect the body in a way similar to that of addictive drugs.

The Real Reason America Has An Obesity Epidemic?

Although America has been swimming deeper and deeper into an obesity epidemic, little progress has been made as far as preventing weight gain and aiding weight loss long term.

If the statistics keep going in the direction they’re going, 85% of adults will be considered overweight or obese in fifteen years. Americans are already spending 10% of the nation’s health care money on problems related to obesity.

What is going on here? No one wants to be overweight. Not one wants to be tired, sick and fat. Are we really suffering from a lack of willpower and an overabundance of laziness?

Researchers of the pizza study think there may be a bigger picture.

“Addictive substances are rarely in their natural state, but have been altered or processed in a manner that increases their abuse potential. For example, grapes are processed into wine and poppies are refined into opium.

cookie-pizza“A similar process may be occurring within our food supply. There are naturally occurring foods that contain sugar (e.g., fruits) or foods that naturally contain fat (e.g., nuts). Notably, sugar (or refined carbohydrates) and fat rarely occur in the same food naturally, but many palatable foods have been processed to have artificially elevated quantities of both (e.g.g. cake, pizza, chocolate).”

In short, foods are being combined and processed in a way that makes them much more addictive than they otherwise would be in their natural state.  

When you eat these foods (usually processed foods that are high in fat and sugar), your reward-centers in your brain go into hyperdrive. You experience boosts in dopamine and other pleasure hormones that are similar to what you would experience if you were taking high doses of certain drugs.

Processed foods are also absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream, leading to a more dramatic physiological response.

“Processing appears to be an essential distinguishing factor for whether a food is associated with behavioral indicators of addictive-like eating. Highly processed foods are altered to be particularly rewarding through the addition of fats and/or refined carbohydrates (like white flour and sugar).”

If this is really true… then people are experiencing “addiction” without even realizing it.

People are overeating unintentionally, because they are being manipulated by their food.

“Although the causes of obesity are multifactorial, one potential contributing factor is the idea certain foods may be capable of triggering an addictive response in some individuals, which may lead to unintended overeating.”

What Should You Do?

Awareness is KEY in not becoming a victim to your food.

Try to fill most (or all) of your diet with foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Learn new shopping and cooking skills. Take the time to make big changes in your lifestyle and you will notice BIG changes in your health.

It is also key that you stand up and speak out to food companies about the changes we’d all like to see in their food. If you keep putting your money into food that causes obesity, illness and disease, someone is going to keep making it.

However, if as families, communities and organizations we all stand up and demand changes be made and if our wallets follow our words, companies will have no choice but to change in order to meet our demands.

Do you have any other thoughts on how we can influence this shift? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jenna Barrington
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Jenna Barrington

Jenna Barrington is studying Therapeutic Nutrition and Holistic Medicine and aspires to be a practitioner, teacher and writer. She is passionate about education and helping others take control of their health.

Jenna lives with her husband in Utah and loves writing, cooking, green smoothies, training her dog, Japanese, spending time at the ocean, bungee jumping, walking barefoot in the grass and being with her family.
Jenna Barrington
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