Donuts, cereal and pizza should be redefined as DRUGS: Scientists say highly processed foods are just as addictive and harmful as CIGARETTES

Highly-processed foods should be reclassified as drugs because they are as addictive and harmful as cigarettes, scientists argue.

Researchers claim items like donuts, sugary cereals and pizza meet the meet official criteria that established cigarettes as a drug in the 1990s.

These include causing compulsive use and mood altering affects on the brain, and having properties or ingredients that reinforce addiction or trigger cravings.

Ultra processed foods – which also include things like soda, chips, pastries and candies – contain high amounts of unnatural flavorings, preservatives and sweeteners.

These properties give them their delicious flavor — but also make them high in calories, fat, sugar or salt, which raise the risk of obesity and other chronic illnesses.

Researchers led by Dr Ashley Gearhardt, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, told DailyMail.com these foods are more like a drug because of how distant they are in taste and texture from natural foods.

‘They are industrial produced substances designed to deliver sugar and fat,’ Dr Alexandra DiFeliceantoni, a health behaviors research professor at Virginia Tech University, said.

‘They are not foods anymore. These are these products that have been really well designed to deliver addictive substances.’

The researchers want the marketing of these foods to children to be restricted, the same way nicotine advertising cannot be directed at kids. But they have stopped short of calling for an outright age ban.

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