The famous crisp slogan ‘once you pop, you can’t stop’ has long been used in certain TV commercials to advertise how delicious and seemingly addictive crisps are, but it turns out there is a condition which causes this behaviour rendering people unable to have ‘just the one’.
The condition is called ‘hedonic hyperphagia’ and is the scientific term for eating to excess for pleasure rather than hunger. This kind of recreational over-eating is very common and occurs in the majority of people at some time in their life. The chronic form of this condition is a substantial player in the obesity epidemic.
Among the reasons why people are highly attracted to crisps even on a full stomach are partially explained by the high ratio of fats and carbohydrates which send pleasing signals to the brain. However, there are further reasons which trigger this addictive eating behaviour that are currently being researched.
It is not all bad news though, individual taste preferences and will power can still help you avoid giving into the temptation of crisps…but the best way to avoid devouring an entire family size bag of crisps is not to open the bag in the first place. Leave it on the supermarket shelf and walk away.
Hoch T, Revealing the scientific secrets of why people can’t stop after eating one potato chip, American Chemical Society, 2013.