There's A Scientific Reason You Can't Say 'No' To A Slice Of Pizza
It's 3 am, and I'm drunk.
It's time to call it quits for the night, and frankly, I can't wait to climb into my warm, cozy bed and fall into a blissful, drunk sleep.
But besides my bed, there's something else on my mind: pizza.
Even though I'm totally exhausted from a night of tequila shots and dancing, I hop in a cab and ask the driver to take me to the nearest pizza joint. There's a line out the door, but I don't care.
I'm getting pizza, and nothing will stop me.
When I finally get home, it's 4 am, and I gobble down my three slices impressively fast. I'm disgustingly full, but I want more. I would kill for just one more slice!
To be clear, I'm not a big pizza-eater while sober. My office gets free pizza delivered on Fridays, and I always pass on it. Not only does it leave me feeling tired and sluggish, but it's crazy addicting. There's no such thing as having just one slice.
Long story short, we need to talk about pizza. What is it about that cheesy, sauce-covered dough that's so damn appealing? And why can't anyone stop eating it?
Here's what's up.
Pizza is extremely addictive.
According to a study conducted out of the University of Michigan, pizza is one of the most addicting foods in the world.
I know what you're thinking. What about chocolate? Or cheese?
Don't get me wrong, those foods are addictive, too. But, the thing about pizza is it's made up of a ton of addictive foods.
Believe it or not, pizza dough is packed with sugar, as is pizza sauce. The average slice of frozen cheese pizza has 5 grams of sugar, with the pizza sauce alone containing around 1.1 grams of sugar per quarter cup. While sugar is delicious, it is also more addictive than cocaine.
Then, there's cheese, which is also highly addictive due to an ingredient called casein that acts as an opiate in the body during digestion.
And if you're a pepperoni pizza kind of guy or girl, you have another problem on your hands. Cured meat has sodium nitrite in it -- the same ingredient that makes meats like bacon and sausage so delicious and so impossible to stop eating.
The biggest problem here is during cooking, those nitrites combine with other chemicals and form carcinogens, a process that is one of the reasons the World Health Organization announced bacon causes cancer.
One last thing. You know all that grease on top of your pizza? It's melted cheese fat.
Are you still wondering why you can't stop eating pizza?
But, there's hope.
If your main takeaway from this article is giving up pizza is hopeless, I'm going to stop you right there. Please do not order three large pizzas and call it a day.
Pizza is delicious, and I'm all about enjoying a slice from time to time. But as far as lunch and dinner go, you're a lot better off sticking to protein, whole grains and veggies.
Pizza is packed with sugar, salt and fat and has very little nutritional value. Not only that, but it's a pretty high-calorie food, and too many calories lead to weight gain (in case you haven't heard).
Don't let the addictive powers of pizza scare you. You will not be a slave to pizza for the rest of your life. I promise.
Just do your best to eat it in moderation and not go overboard -- have a drunk slice here, a sober slice there.
Here's hoping you can have your pizza and eat it, too.
Citations: Highly processed foods linked to addictive eating (University of Michigan), WHO says hot dogs, bacon cause cancer. Does this mean we should all become vegetarians? (The Washington Post), 5 Unhealthy Foods Engineered to Be Addictive (Alternet)