Donuts, Cereal, Pizza & Highly Processed Foods should be redefined as DRUGS
Just as Addictive & Harmful as CIGARETTES
- Processed foods are as addictive and dangerous as cigarettes, experts say
- Researchers say the products meet the same addiction standards as nicotine
- The foods have been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other issues
- The pair of scientists is calling for restrictions on the marketing of the foods
Highly-processed foods should be reclassified as drugs because they are as addictive and harmful as cigarettes, scientists argue.
Researchers claim items like donuts, sugary cereals and pizza meet the meet official criteria that established cigarettes as a drug in the 1990s.
These include causing compulsive use and mood altering affects on the brain, and having properties or ingredients that reinforce addiction or trigger cravings.
Ultra processed foods – which also include things like soda, chips, pastries and candies – contain high amounts of unnatural flavorings, preservatives and sweeteners.
These properties give them their delicious flavor — but also make them high in calories, fat, sugar or salt, which raise the risk of obesity and other chronic illnesses.
Researchers led by Dr Ashley Gearhardt, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, told DailyMail.com these foods are more like a drug because of how distant they are in taste and texture from natural foods.
‘They are industrial produced substances designed to deliver sugar and fat,’ Dr Alexandra DiFeliceantonio, a health behaviors research professor at Virginia Tech University, said.
‘They are not foods anymore. These are these products that have been really well designed to deliver addictive substances.’
The researchers want the marketing of these foods to children to be restricted, the same way nicotine advertising cannot be directed at kids. But they have stopped short of calling for an outright age ban.
America’s obesity crisis has largely been tied to the prevalence of ultra-processed foods. The foods are believed to make up around 50 per cent of the American diet.
As a result, around 70 per cent of Americans are obese according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with 40 per cent classed as obese.
Dr Gearhardt warned that even people who of a healthy weight are still at risk of developing cancer and other issues down the line from eating junk food.
The foods have been linked to a jump in diseases like colorectal and kidney cancer, and Alzheimer’s in the US, among other diseases.
Constantly spiking blood-sugar, through eating sugary foods, can also lead to diabetes.
A shocking study published in September that found rates of early onset breast, colon and pancreatic cancer were rising globally pointed also to these foods as a culprit.
Brazilian researchers published a study earlier this week suggesting that one-in-five premature deaths in the South American nation were tied to processed foods.
Now, experts are calling for them to be regulated in a similar way as nicotine.
In 1988, Dr Charles Everett Koop, who served as US surgeon general for President Ronald Reagan, published a 600 page report….
Header featured image (edited) credit: Junk Foods/Getty Image
Emphasis added by (TLB) editors
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