Processed food may be addictive, spiking calorie intake: study

“Once you pop, you can’t stop” goes the old Pringles tagline.

Anyone who’s ever pulled open a bag of potato chips knows how hard it can be to set it aside unfinished. A new study from the the National Institutes of Health aims to understand why.

The “landmark” research, appearing in the journal Cell Metabolism, shows that “ultra-processed” foods may actually have something habit-forming in them, pushing people to overeat and gain more weight than those on a whole food or minimally processed food diet.

Previous studies have shown that eating foods like this is associated with an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and early death, but these observational, self-reported studies could only show a correlation, so scientists could not directly attribute a diet of processed foods with obesity and illness.

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