Sunday 11 December 2016

Revealed: What is in Pringles that makes them so addictive?

Published 19/08/2015 | 11:20

Packages of Pringles potato chips
Packages of Pringles potato chips

If you’re the type that can close a tube of Pringles after just three crisps than you’re a better person than the rest of us who just can’t seem to stop popping them into our gobs.

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Even the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron was snapped scoffing the moreish crisps by the dozen on a recent flight to Portugal but what is it about Pringles that always makes us want to eat the lot and then some?

The combination of ingredients, which contain very little potato, target a specific part of the brain responsible for hunger.

While many might identify Pringles as crisps, the product contains just 42pc potato, and is mostly made up of wheat starch, sunflower oil, maize oil and rice flour, ingredients which affect the brain in a similar way to alcohol or drugs.

Anna Daniels, of the British Dietetic Association, told Mail Online: “A lot of time and money is spent by food manufacturers on making crisps addictive because they want us to eat more and more of them.

“They are also made with highly refined carbohydrates so they don’t give you slow-release energy. It’s about quick fixes.”

Read more: 15 ways to curb sugar cravings

The texture of a handful of Pringles, which provide a crunch and then quickly dissolve in the mouth, also adds to the amount we eat as a lack of chewing action before swallowing coaxes you to eat more before the stomach signals to the brain that it is full.

“This contributes to overeating,” says Anna Daniels.

“You eat when you are not really aware of it. If you grab snacks on the go, you can finish them before you’ve realised it.”

Also adding to their addictive nature is the flavouring dusted upon Pringles to cater to the specific desires of those eating them.

Read more: Are you an avocado addict? The super cool invention that will help grow your own avocado tree on your windowsill

Flavours such as Paprika and Texas Barbecue are made up of citric and malic acid, sugar, salt and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

MSG is a natural salt with a meaty taste commonly added to Chinese food, but which has been linked to headaches, palpitations, sweating and numbness.

Advice offered might not provide the desired help to addicts of the crisps. Experts recommend placing just13 Pringles, which equates to over 150 calories, into a bowl out of reach of the tube. The obvious thing, of course, would be to leave them on the supermarket shelf, though.

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