Pringles are notorious for being addictive, and I was curious to find out why it seems to be impossible for some people to stop eating after just a few. They are rumoured to contain a chemical that triggers something in your brain which causes you to want more, but as far as I could tell, I couldn’t find anything in the ingredients that could be this mystery chemical. However, what I did find was that pringles are, unsurprisingly, very high in salt, fat and sugar, and it is believed that this is the main reason that they are so more-ish.
So a little bit about why –
There are two systems in the brain which cause a desire for food: firstly the homeostatic system, which regulates appetite based on the body’s need for energy, so it makes you feel hungry if you haven’t eaten in a while, or full if you have consumed too much. Secondly, there is hedonic hunger, which is a system that connects the reward centre in your brain with seeing, smelling and tasting certain food, known as hedonic foods. When the brain encounters these foods, the reward centre is stimulated and this excites your brain, causing you to enjoy the food, and because you enjoy it, the brain wants more of it – this feeling can be so strong that body ignores messages coming from your homeostatic system. Salt, fat and sugar are essentially the holy trinity of hedonic foods – they stimulate the reward centre the most, and as pringles are high in all three, they are very addictive. In addition to this, Pringles are also composed of simple carbohydrates so are easily digested and they don’t make you feel really full, meaning it takes longer for the homeostatic systems o override the hedonic hunger system and tell you to stop consuming food.
Scientists understand addictions to arise when engaging in an activity, such as eating, can be connected to a reward which stimulates the brain positively, and so technically, if eating Pringles became such a compulsive habit that it began to negatively impact on someone’s life, then Pringles could easily become a true addiction.
Thanks for reading!