20 Expository Essay Topics on Addictive Foods

Topics and ideas
Posted on November 24, 2015

When writing an expository essay on a complicated topic one often feels paralyzed: not a single thought comes to mind and you can almost feel how deadline creeps closer while you cannot even think about any particular topic to write about. You, however, don’t have to suffer this way if you have a list of topics to choose from.

So, if you have to write about addictive foods, feel free to use these:

  1. What Makes Junk Food Addictive
  2. The Most Addictive Foods in Existence
  3. How Sugar Causes Addiction
  4. Similarities between Processed Foods and Habit-Forming Drugs
  5. How Processed Foods Are Engineered to Cause Addiction
  6. Salt, Sugar and Fat: the Unholy Trinity of Food Industry
  7. What Makes Us Crave Salt?
  8. Cheetos and Vanishing Caloric Density
  9. Why Is Snack Food So Addictive?
  10. Scientific Reasons Behind the Addictiveness of Salty-Sweet Foods
  11. Hyperpalatable Foods: What Are They?
  12. Children-Oriented Marketing of Junk Food
  13. Which Foods Are Making Us Fat and Why Are We Eating Them
  14. High Fructose Corn Syrup as the Main Culprit of Obesity Epidemic
  15. Long Hang-Time Flavor as a Factor in Addictiveness of Doritos
  16. Mechanism Behind Bacon’s Appeal
  17. Why Oreos Were Proven to Be More Addictive than Cocaine
  18. Why French Fries Cause Problems with Portion Control
  19. Can Food Be as Addictive as Drugs?
  20. Which Foods Are Most Likely to Cause Addiction

Despite covering different areas, all these topics have one thing in common: they are interesting, they deal with important issues of modern world and subjects that have more than just academic appeal. Don’t miss the chance to benefit from the facts on addictive foods and writing guidelines on expository papers. Below you will find a sample essay that shows how they can be handled in practice.

What Makes Junk Food Addictive

We all know that so-called junk food is detrimental to our health, especially when consumed in inordinate amounts. They don’t pose significant health risks when occasionally introduced into an otherwise healthy diet; but the problem with them is exactly this – it is extremely hard not to eat them in inordinate amounts once you’ve started. For some reason, even if one feels guilty afterwards, all too often one just cannot stop eating – so much so that many consider junk food to be addictive in a manner of narcotic drugs. So what makes things like Twinkies, Oreos, Lays, Coke and their brethren so alluring?

As it turns out, there is nothing random about this fact. Although it is hard to say whether the term ‘addiction’ is correct technically, there is no doubt that junk foods don’t just happen to be tasty and attractive – they are carefully and painstakingly engineered to be this way. Although the idea of scientists in lab coats running experiments and food companies spending millions to try and determine the optimal level of crunchiness for potato chips sounds preposterous, it is exactly what they are doing (the chips experiment, for example, was run by Frito-Lay). Taste, aftertaste, texture, contents, everything is carefully designed to make us love the product, eat more in one sitting and get back for extra.

The methods for these are varied, but generally they are based on one simple principle which lies in history of our species. Throughout evolution, human beings were mainly concerned with finding enough food to survive. Substances like sugar and fat were extremely valuable for survival because they contain high amount of calories and provide a great deal of energy. Our ancestors had to work and often fight hard to obtain them, and they were never available in high amounts. In other words, our brains are hard-wired by millions of years of evolution to crave sugar and fat because for a very long time they were valuable sources of energy beneficial to our survival. Today, however, we can get as much of them as we want, as they are easily and cheaply obtainable in any grocery store without any physical effort.

The same goes for salt. Despite not providing any calories, sodium is extremely important for various processes in our personal biochemistry – and in order to make sure we eat enough of it, our brains are designed to make us like its taste. However, in ancient times it was even harder to come by than sugar – and today it is contained in virtually all processed foods in amounts that far exceed our natural requirements.

Thus, food companies can ensure we eat more of their produce simply by giving us what the reptilian part of our brain says we need.

There are other, more sophisticated approaches, serving as an icing on the cake. For example, ‘vanishing caloric density’, a feature that is specifically characteristic of Cheetos – when you eat them, they tend to melt in your mouth, and you are subconsciously inclined to believe that something that behaves this way doesn’t contain any calories and you can go on eating it forever. Or ‘long hang-time flavor’ – meaning that flavor remains in your mouth for a long time, reminding you of the taste and nudging you to eat more.

But when all is said and done, junk foods simply play on subconscious cravings of our brains which were formed millions of years ago in living conditions that had nothing to do with how human beings live today.


Boseley, Sarah. “Eating, not Sugar, Is Addictive.” The Guardian Sep. 9 2014
Fleming, Amy. “Food Addiction: Does It Really Exist?” The Guardian Aug. 20 2013
Gearhardt, Ashley N., Carlos M. Grilo, Ralph J. DiLeone, Kelly D. Brownell and Marc N. Potenza. “Can Food Be Addictive? Public Health and Policy Implications.” Addiction Jul. 2011: 1208-1212. Print
Moss, Michael. “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.” The New York Times Magazine Feb. 20 2013
Nolan, Rachel. “Behind the Cover Story: Michael Moss on Addictive Foods and What He Eats for Breakfast.” The New York Times Feb. 25 2013
Peretti, Jacques. “Why Our Food Is Making Us Fat.” The Guardian Jun. 11 2012
Sullum, Jacob. “Research Shows Cocaine and Heroin Are Less Addictive Than Oreos.” Forbes Oct. 16 2013

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