If you’ve ever had a craving for food that had nothing to do with hunger, then this post has some important information for you. Everyone has a weakness for food in some area. For me, sushi or cheese of any kind will get my attention, and they’re not my only guilty pleasures. What is it about food that draws us in, even when we’ve already had our fill? Many of the food options available to us today are loaded with addictive ingredients that keep us coming back for more.

  • Sugar: Foods that are high in sugar or starch cause glucose levels in the body to spike, which signals your brain to ask for more food to try and even things out.

  • Nitrates: These chemicals can be found in all kinds of cured meats like lunch meats and hot dogs. Nitrates give meats that irresistible smoky flavor, but they also induced food cravings, and they are carcinogenic.

  • Caffeine: Your brain produces a natural stimulant, norepinephrine, which is essential to normal function. The constant presence of caffeine, another stimulant, slows norepinephrine production. This leaves you turning to caffeine more and more often to compensate.

  • Salt: Just like sugar, salty foods throw off the internal balance of our bodies, leaving us looking for more food to try and restore the balance. If a salty food leaves you wanting something sweet, try a glass of water instead.

Pre-packaged, processed, fast foods usually carry higher levels of these types of ingredients, which is partly what makes them so addictive. Many of these types of food also contain chemicals that are harmful to our bodies, and even carcinogenic. Cooking at home, sticking with fresh foods, and keeping your ingredient list short can help you to avoid addictive ingredients and maintain a healthy attitude towards food.

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