food addiction

One of our loyal readers brought a recent Newsweek cover story to our attention. It is titled, Americans Are Addicted to 'Ultra-Processed' Foods, and It's Killing Us. In addition to cherry-picking words to favor “natural” over “ultra-processed,” whatever that means, the article raises but does not resolve or necessarily clarify some crucial issues. Are our foods addictive, like fentanyl? What does processed and ultra-processed really mean to our health? What does “the science” reveal or not fully comprehend? It is time to take a deeper dive.
Are "ultra-processed" foods addictive? Some scientists say yes, pointing to experiments with sugar-craving rats and the difficulty many people have losing weight and keeping it off. Taken in isolation, these observations lend themselves to a food addiction model, but there's actually little evidence to support the theory.