What They Put In Junk Food To Get Us Totally Hooked

“Hyper-palatable foods are designed to make us eat more than we intend to”

The Takeout – We now know that humans’ cravings for salty, processed, sugar-packed foods aren’t merely a failure of willpower, they’re a result of how junk food messes with our brain chemistry.

University scientists have recently published research that attempts to define those foods under the term “hyper-palatability.” [Rough translation: really, really tasty. – Ed.]

While hyper-palatability has been used for years in relation to foods, this paper is the first to provide a concrete definition.

In a press release, the researchers note that hyper-palatable foods are designed to make us eat more of them than we intend to.

Basically, their combination of ingredients is so tasty that our conscious efforts to stop eating are thwarted by whatever part of our lizard brain wants two more handful of chips.

In more scientific terms, hyper-palatable foods are those in which “the synergy between key ingredients in a food creates an artificially enhanced palatability experience that is greater than any key ingredient would produce alone.”

The researchers found that combinations of certain types of ingredients create hyper-palatability: combinations of fat and sodium (hot dogs, bacon); combinations of fat and simple sugars (cake, ice cream, brownies); and combinations of carbohydrates and sodium (pretzels, popcorn) … Read more.