A recent study finding that pizza is as addictive as cocaine was funded with $780,000 in federal money, according to a newly-released congressional report.
In late October, a study conducted at the University of Michigan was released which found that pizza and other processed foods (such as french fries and ice cream) are addictive in a manner similar to drugs like cocaine.
Now, the “Wastebook”, an anti-government waste report released Tuesday by Sen. Jeff Flake’s office, reveals this astonishing conclusion cost $780,000 in taxpayer money. The cash was supplied by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which sponsored the study of 100 Michigan undergraduates. The students were given a list of 35 foods and were asked which ones they associated with addictive-like eating behaviors (such as needing to binge in order to receive a ‘high’ from it). Pizza actually wasn’t even the most addictive food, finishing fourth behind chocolate, ice cream, and fries.
So does that mean pizza is as bad as crack? Hardly. The study didn’t find any foods to be “extremely problematic” in addictiveness. Instead, it more or less just proved that people really like them, and Flake argues the government hardly needed $780,000 to prove that.
“The study’s results come as a surprise to absolutely no one,” the Wastebook says. “After all, college students eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or in between meals or as a late night snack. And they are not alone … One in 8 Americans eats pizza on any given day, according to government statistics.”
But researchers aren’t done. As the Wastebook notes, they hope to follow up with new research where they will actively watch people consume pizza and other foods to see if they show signs of withdrawal, tolerance, and other addictive behaviors.
The spending to research pizza addiction was just one of a hundred different examples of questionable government spending included in the Wastebook. A large number of the examples involve academics paid by the government to conduct research of questionable utility. Researchers at Duke University, for instance, received over $700,000 to research the fighting habits of mantis shrimp.