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Sugar, fat, and salt have the tendency to elevate your senses to a natural high, something similar to what drugs make you experience … talk about Food Addiction!

There is a difference between “Love for Food” and an “Obsessive Addiction for Food”! Do you eat because of love, or does your food seduce you into its indulgence? Yes, certain foods can bewitch your mind and make you a certified addict.

Haven’t you noticed how some foods just attract you toward them like a magnet pulling a metal piece towards it? And no matter how much you wish to repel, divert yourself, or try to change your direction, you end up breaking your vow and find your mouth filled with the tempting foods, perfectly fitting into the need of the hour. Here lies a list of foods that have the capacity to seduce you to a degree that it won’t be wrong to call yourself a slave of theirs.

Can’t do Without Coffee, Can You?

As if the sensuous brown color and the captivating luster of the coffee beans wasn’t enough, as if the enchanting aroma didn’t do enough to elate your already aroused senses, it comes in the form of a steaming hot cup, emitting an aura that is more powerful than anything else that surrounds you. That is the power of coffee, the dominatrix in the world of food and beverage addiction!

It is the much-needed kick starter, the energy booster, the supplier of the rush that carries you through the demanding day. Coffee continues to control the lives of many, imparting its addiction efficaciously. Those under its influence would agree that it is the one thing that they can’t imagine their day without!

✦ The Cause: Coffee, as we all know, has caffeine, the one ingredient responsible for stimulating us and replacing our exhaustion with a rush! The addiction is caused because of the fact that the more you are into the habit of consuming coffee, the less stimulating it becomes. And to feel the rush and alertness again, all you are likely to do, is fill your ‘tankard’ by draining ‘n’ number of cups … and beyond! (Proof it is: It didn’t stop at ‘n’, did it?)

Are Donuts Driving You Nuts?

Just a bite of the chocolate-filled glazed donut is enough to conquer all the taste buds that possibly exist in your tongue. All you have to do is to close your eyes, and enter a whole new realm of pleasurable moments ….

What is not enticing about them? The glaze, the colorful toppings, the tempting fillings … jams, custard, melted chocolate … Oh, the lubricious appeal!

✦ The Cause: The lips like sugar! Why do you think half of the people you know have a sweet tooth? And sweet tooth is just an understatement! You would flip out if you knew the effects of sugar addiction on your mind and body. Studies done on rats have shown that consumption of sugar can actually induce the production of dopamine. Its addiction, followed by abstinence, also led to withdrawal symptoms, as observed among drug addicts! “Sugar-high”, as good as it may feel, may affect you, both physically and psychologically.

The Charm of the Colorful Candies and Gums

Lo and Behold! The beauty that first enchants the eyes, travels to your lips and dissolves within your taste buds, thereby providing you a sugar high … Ah! sweetness… at its best!

The fancy bright colors, enticing texture, shapes, and sizes! If you don’t like it round, you have the long ones, not to miss the fancy heart-shaped candies that are worth digging your teeth into. The taste, oh my God! Candies and gums take you into a world of myriad flavors, titillating your taste buds every time you swirl them in your mouth. Who wouldn’t get addicted to this ultimate source of sinful delight?

✦ The Cause: The sugary crunch of the candy, and the gum drizzled with sugar crystals that releases all the sweetened flavors with each dig… sweetness at its best becomes the sweetness at its worst! Sugar is linked with the secretion of dopamine, which elevates the mood and creates a happy feeling all over. To stay in that state, you just pop in another piece without even realizing that you are falling into its trap! Candy, anyone?

The Cheesy Affair

You want it in your burger, your sandwich, your pizza …, you want it all the time…, so much so that you wouldn’t mind paying the extra dollars to fulfill your Pavlovian desire. After all, what is a meal without cheese?

The aroma that repels quite a few, is more than enough to make some drool. Though not everyone is a cheese lover, those who are under its spell surely wouldn’t mind being a slave of it, and why not! Everything about cheese is inviting. The dense-yet-silken flavor of cheese … never thought cheddar could translate to ‘la dolce vita’! Who wouldn’t want to taste and experience the divine pleasure of something that lures you to perfection?

✦ The Cause: Did you know cheese contains morphine? Yes, it does; however, that is not the only ingredient that makes this food cast its spell on us. Cheese is also a source of casein, a protein which upon digestion, produces casomorphins, giving the body a boost. Another ingredient responsible for the natural high is phenylethylamine. All these substances make you a cheese addict.

White Bread Indulgence

The sight of it at the very first meal of the day …, there it lies, parading its dominance on the plate, accompanied by its helpers (peanut butter, jam …), so that every bite we take feels more alluring, more fulfilling, more indulging ….

No matter how many varieties of bread they bake, nothing beats the pristine pleasure your mouth receives by the indulgence of white bread! The way the freshly baked piece of white bread just melts in your mouth, leaving behind the tinge of sweetness… oh, the feeling! We are conditioned to love it, it’s one of those foods we have grown up eating. Our mind is hypnotized by it, our taste buds crave for it; if there is something called food satisfaction, it begins with white bread!

✦ The Cause: The cause could be both psychological conditioning, and the heavy portion of carbs! You see, when digested, carbs convert into glucose, or to be more specific – sugar! When sugar enters your blood stream, it gives our mind a happy feeling, it becomes a natural way of achieving the sense of blissful elevation. Same goes with white rice and pasta, you can’t stop yourself until you end up feeling sick from stuffing that stuff! (alliteration absolutely intended!) Does that stop you from going overboard the next time? I don’t think so!

The Ice Creamy Fantasy

How do I describe the heavenly bliss, the divine satisfaction this toothsome dessert brings to your soul? Just one bite is enough to take you to a world that you would never want to leave, and what do you do to stay in the heavenly high? Well, have more bites of this delicious creation.

If this list was in a particular order, I bet the ice cream would have been at the very top! I mean just look at this temptress … the colors, the texture, the appeal …, all of it is enough to captivate you visually. And when you feel the smoothness of it within your mouth melting as the seconds pass by, the craving doesn’t curb, but arouses your want for it. Only a complete submergence can come close to satiating your desire for it.

✦ The Cause: Do I really need to explain? Ice cream directly hits the pleasure centers of your brain. Why do you think it takes you to the seventh heaven? You can relate the cause to the abundance of sugar and some degree of fat in it. Sugar takes you to a natural high by releasing opioids and dopamine in the brain, so does fat, making you an addicted, obsessive lover of it!

The Wild Cravings for the Hamburger!

You’ve had your timely meal, yet after a few hours, hunger strikes you. You flip through the TV channels, only to see the tempting advertisements of McDonald’s and Burger King! You know your fridge has a stock of processed meat – ham, bacon, salami, meat balls, nuggets, sausages … man, that’s a sign! They have the zingy appeal that leaves you lusting, you just can’t wait to dig your teeth into ’em, … and there you go…

This food item can surely bring forth the Corinthian in you, and no one can blame you even a tiny bit! The smell, the texture, the glaze, and the experience of where a small morsel can take you, is sufficient for you to fantasize about it day in and day out. Remember how Steve Martin responded to his first bite of hamburger in the movie Pink Panther? Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

✦ The Cause: Processed meats are a perfect blend of the three most addictive components in the world of food. It is an enticing combination of the mouth-watering carbs (sugar), animal fat, and salt. Like sugar, fat and salt also tend to release opiates in the brain, which creates a state of bliss within you, and you continue to remain there, going weak in the knees …

A Vicious Rut – Chips and French Fries!

Oh, the binging never ends! Potato can put us on our toes, when it comes to gorging on its products – the chips and French fries! While potato chips top the list among infamous junk foods, our burgers, steak, breakfast plate …, nothing is complete without the presence of French fries. Doesn’t the yellow just mellow!

The zingy addition of salt, combined with the fat that makes you drool, not to forget the natural sweetness in potatoes, that just adds the icing on the cake! I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that each one is so fine in size, that even if you’ve had quite a lot, you don’t feel you’ve had enough!

✦ The Cause: Well, psychologically, it may be the size of each piece, but the addiction is more because of the carbs, fat, and salt! Carbohydrates present in the potato will ultimately digest into glucose (sugar), the fat and salt combined with it, will cradle your mood to euphoria …, but eventually it will disappear, and you will put more of the food in your mouth to experience that high again.

Ecstasy Redefined – The Yummy Cake!

Overpowering and impossible to resist! A glance is all it takes to entice you into a web of culinary pleasures, and once you succumb to the alluring first bite, there’s no way out.

A perfect mixture of the icing, toppings, cream, and the sponge cake, complementing each other so well, that you can’t stop till you drop. The creaminess and the smoothness that diffuses within your mouth and reaches to a more divine level, the experience is beyond words!

✦ The Cause: “Sugar-fats-and-carbs-high” is what you get when you cave in to this food item. Cookies, pastries, cupcakes, muffins …, they all have the same effect on us. Sugar, fats, and carbs elevate the state of happiness by releasing opiate-like substances making you an addict to the food that gives you wings! With so many options in the market, or right in your kitchen, who wouldn’t cave in to these desires?

The Ultimate Seductress – Chocolate!

You know in your heart you’ve already had enough, a small bite of the seductive delicious brown bar was all you wanted, just so as to satisfy your craving. But you need a lot more than the small bite, oh yes you do, a lot more bites that make you want more and more and more ….

How is it that chocolate is not mesmerizing? It’s a pleasure for your eyes that witness the alluring brown color, and when you get pulled towards it, the aroma captures your senses. Then you convince yourself that a bite is all you will have, but as soon as it touches your tongue, melts in your mouth, and arouses the sense of pleasure taking you to cloud 9, who stops at one bite?

✦ The Cause: Well, there is a reason why a lot of people refer themselves as “chocoholics”! The addiction goes beyond your taste buds; it reaches your brain! Chocolate contains certain chemical compounds (theobromine, phenethylamine, anandamide, and tryptophan) which arouse a pleasurable effect on the brain, very similar to what drugs do. Also, a study published in a 1997 issue of International Journal of Psycho-physiology revealed that chocolate addicts had a physical, behavioral, and emotional response towards chocolate, similar to the response drug addicts have towards their drugs.

The Deceptive “Healthy” Packaged Food

I’m not going to tempt you into these, because frankly I don’t fancy them as much as others on the list. When my gym instructor darts at me like a lunatic, I just stick to the natural foods, and manage to practice “moderation.” However, that’s a different story altogether, maybe I’ll write about it sometime later. Coming back to the addiction part …

The tagline of these food items should be “low-fat-high-sugar-high-salt” foods … and I wouldn’t want to comment on the healthy part! These “foods for the fit” are low in one “unhealthy component”, but high in the others. Allow me to explain. You see, low in fat becomes high in salt, or sugar. Low in sugar becomes high in processed (saturated) fats or salt, and that’s how it works! The manufacturers, of course, “forget” to mention the “high” contents.

✦ The Cause: These foods become an addiction, mostly due to psychological reasons. People are into these foods because they are supposedly “healthy”, so the indulgence tends to go overboard because, ahem, its healthy! You gorge on them to substitute your desire for an unhealthy option, and because you have programmed your mind that it’s okay to eat this “low-fat snack”, you end up eating twice the ideal amount, or perhaps more.

Food addiction is not a crime. However, it is important to identify the point beyond which you tend to go overboard. Don’t take food as an escape from stress or other factors, as it is majorly temporary and not the permanent solution. And while you have your share of heavenly bliss with every bite, remember that overindulgence will only ruin it! So, eat, indulge, and experience, but remember in time, when to put a full stop.

Bon Appétit!

Buzzle: Food & Drink

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