Why are biscuits so addictive?
Just one more...
Sweet, fatty biscuits trigger our brain’s reward circuit, flooding it with dopamine and making us feel good. We also tend to find crunchy foods satisfying to eat, from a sensory perspective. So, it’s easy to see why we soon reach for another biscuit seconds after the first. But that’s not to say that biscuits are actually physically addictive. A bare biscuit tin may deliver disappointment but does not cause withdrawal symptoms.
The concept of food addiction remains controversial after many years of debate in scientific journals. However, a German study on mice in 2021 found that females were more likely to consume excessive amounts of sugar than males. Do women eat more biscuits than men? We will probably never know.
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Asked by: Ava Edwards, via email
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Dr Emma Davies is a science writer and editor with a PhD in food chemistry from the University of Leeds. She writes about all aspects of chemistry, from food and the environment to toxicology and regulatory science.
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