Comparing food to drugs is disturbing but people do have addictions over certain foods just like cocaine and heroin addiction, just that its not so bad and life-threatening as drug addiction. High-fat, high-sugar foods trigger pleasure inside our brain and when we eat more of such type of foods, the more we crave for them.
When a group of researchers analyzed the type of foods that could be the most addictive they found that those foods that contained ample sugar topped the list. Ice creams are a unanimous choice of most people and they don’t feel shy or burdened to accept their addiction. One study even shows that, the more often we eat ice creams, the more of it we may need to satisfy the cravings. What is the one factor that makes us crave for ice creams repeatedly?
The X Factor
A group of researchers stubborn on relating ice cream addiction to drug addiction studied the reaction of 151 teenagers aged between 14 and 16. The study group was fed real chocolate milkshakes made with Häagen Dazs ice creams. A background check was performed on these teenagers at the start of the study regarding their eating habits and cravings for certain foods. One point to note here is that all of the participants were on a healthy weight. Just before drinking the shake, all the participants were shown a picture of the milkshake and their brain was scanned during this process.
Results showed that participants craved for the real shake, but their pleasure levels varied depending on their ice cream consumption over the previous few weeks. Enjoyment levels of those who consumed the maximum quantity of ice cream over the previous weeks were minimal. The researchers felt this reaction to be on similar lines when compared to a drug addict. That’s because, despite cravings, the pleasure levels that should be sent to the brain were being blunted. It is wrong to say that you are addicted to ice cream, but right to say that ice creams have addictive-like properties.
An ice cream’s ultimate appeal depends solely on its flavor. Flavor is a combination of six factors-appearance that entices you and prepares your mind for what you are about to eat; Aroma as the ice cream melts into the mouth and enters your throat; acidity that can have a positive impact on fruit flavor or a negative impact on non-acid flavors such as vanilla or chocolate; taste; texture-how coarse, buttery, creamy, smooth or icy the ice cream is and temperature as the ice cream should be ideal to scoop out and consume-neither too frozen nor semi-solid as these might spoil the entire experience of eating an ice cream. Temperature should be maintained between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit for the perfect texture.
Buttery, Sugary, Creamy…
Any ice cream’s quality and desire are based on two important elements-sweetness (taste) and fat (texture). Yet another important element that preserves the ice cream’s appeal is the control over melt. The ice cream should not melt too fast nor too slow. The difference in price between various ice cream brands is solely due to the quality of ingredients used. Excellent milk is mandatory for preparing good quality ice creams and the flavors should remain consistent throughout. Consistency-this is the primary element that helps a customer relate to a specific brand.
Can Ice Cream Addiction Really be Compared to Drug Addiction?
On no given day can ice creams be compared on the same lines as drugs in terms of addiction. Drugs affect your health very badly and make your systems go haywire. Read more on drug addiction and its consequences at www.firsteatright.com. Although the study showed that pleasure levels decline when consumed frequently, the study was not a large-scale one and neither was it inclusive. The participants were only healthy adolescents who were not overweight, the study was conducted only on one food and did not compare brain responses to ice cream and illegal drugs.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.