This new study from researchers at the University of Kentucky analyzed existing nutritional data and tried to draw connections between dietary factors and overeating. They found that three factors were clearly linked to overeating: how quickly the meal was eaten, how energy dense the foods were (in other words, how many calories per gram), and how much of these hyper-palatable foods were eaten.
Unfortunately, hyper-palatable foods are everywhere, meaning they’re both hard to stop eating and hard to avoid eating in the first place. In fact, that Obesity study found that 62% of foods sold in the United States met the hyper-palatable qualifications. Breaking it down, most of the commonly sold hyper-palatable foods (70%!) were high in fat and salt, 25% were high in fat and sugar, and 16% were high in salt and carbohydrates.
Many people are unaware that so many foods meet the qualifications for being hyper-palatable and may be falling victim to the addictive properties of these foods without even knowing it. According to University of Kansas scientist and lead researcher Tera Fazzino, a big part of this study is simply increasing public awareness. “We hope to get the information about hyper-palatable foods out there for individuals to consider as they make dietary choices, and we hope that scientists continue to examine hyper-palatable characteristics as a potential factor influencing energy intake,” she said in a statement.