Intense, crispy, flaming hot Mexican takis are the perfect spicy snacks! They’re so perfect that many people can’t seem to get enough of them, but it can be all too easy for your happiness to start to depend on these fluorescently colored chips. What’s the actual reason these flaming tortillas can get anyone hooked so quickly?
Takis are so addicting because they contain a large amount of highly palatable food substances like fat and salt. These substances make your brain release more feel-good chemicals than usual as you eat them. This chemical reward mechanism drives you to continue eating takis even after you’re full.
This article will explain what your favorite takis are made of, why they give such strong pleasure signals, and how they can get addicting. Keep reading to also find out if takis are safe to eat and how to stop a takis addiction.
The Ingredients That Make Takis Addicting
One of the reasons takis are so addicting is the composition of the snack itself. Takis are made from various ingredients, including the following:
- Carbohydrate-rich corn flour that has been processed with lime
- Fatty oils like vegetable, palm, soybean, or canola oil
- A strong mix of seasonings, including salt, citric acid, and sugar
- Artificial flavors
- Baking Soda
- Chili pepper
- Yeast extract
- Onion powder
- Soy protein
These ingredients used in making takis—mainly the high-carbohydrate corn flour, fatty oils, salt, and sugar—contribute to their great taste. According to WXYZ TV, each of those small bags of takis also has about 24g of fat and 1200mg of sodium, which is a pretty concerning level. Aside from making it a highly palatable snack, these high amounts of fat and sodium can make it very easy to get addicted.
How Can Food Get Addicting?
Food gets addicting due to the reward system in the human brain. When a person satisfies a craving, parts of the brain release dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical that gives your body pleasure as a reward. This response often occurs in response to foods rich in sugar, salt, fat, and carbohydrates.
Those foods that give really high pleasure feedback are called highly palatable foods. The dopamine rush generated by these foods is so high that it can affect the biochemistry of your brain.
When you eat these foods in unhealthily large portions, you can get dependent on the pleasure you get from them. You might start to crave that food unconsciously, and as you give in to the cravings, your body begins to get used to the feeling, creating a mild addiction.
Why Are Takis So Addicting?
Takis are so addicting because they are highly palatable foods. They are carbohydrate-rich and abundant in fat, sugar, and salt. Because of their composition, they give your body a higher pleasure reward than regular foods.
When you start to eat takis, the delicious heat and super sharp tang from the spice aren’t the only reasons you want to keep eating. They also make your brain release pleasurable neurotransmitter chemicals that make you feel good. That’s why there’s a recommended serving size to limit how much you eat.
Because of the feel-good chemicals released in your brain, there’s a tendency to eat more than just one small bag of takis. If you give in to the craving, you get a bigger dopamine rush in your brain’s reward center.
Understanding Triggers for Food Addiction
Even though highly palatable foods like takis have a high tendency to be addicting, research hasn’t found any specific substance that triggers food addiction. Getting addicted to food is usually more about your behavior and lifestyle than any ingredient in the food itself. If you indulge in takis to deal with some strain, you’re more likely to get addicted to them.
Common reasons people turn to snacking unhealthily on takis include eating it as a coping mechanism for the following conditions:
- Psychological stress
- Hormonal imbalance
- Emotional strain while getting through a difficult time
- The unpleasant side effects of medication
- Discomfort from a harsh menstrual period
- Stress from surviving a traumatic event
- Grief from losing a loved one
- Social isolation
- A drastic, harsh change in daily life
If you are suffering from one of these conditions, seek help from a professional or a support system of your own.
How Does a Takis Addiction Start?
A takis addiction starts with craving them when you’re not hungry or even when you’re already full from eating something else. The craving is your brain’s way of asking for the dopamine rush that you get from snacking on takis, which will likely cause you to eat more than you intended.
Even if you aren’t particularly hungry, you might end up eating the chips until you feel so stuffed that it’s nearly painful. Even then, it’ll take some effort to stop gorging on the chips.
When you get stuffed on the takis, you might feel guilty for a while. If you’re using it as a coping mechanism, it’s pretty common to make excuses for eating so much.
If it’s a one-time event, this is not such a severe issue. However, if you’re developing a real addiction, you might go right back and do it all again. You might even have trouble setting rules to restrain how much takis you eat. If you get to this phase, you might need to seek support to get over your addiction.
How To Stop an Addiction to Takis
If you are worried you have developed an addition to takis, you can take the following steps:
- Admit your addiction.
- Make a conscious effort to omit takis from your diet completely.
- Plan your meals and restrict your portion sizes.
- List the pros and cons of overeating takis to encourage yourself to stop.
- Find a safer snack alternative.
- Seek help from family and friends.
- If necessary, seek professional help from a doctor or nutritionist.
Although it may feel difficult at first, it’s possible to establish a better relationship with takis through hard work and dedication.
How To Eat Takis Safely
Takis are awesome spicy snacks, and they wouldn’t make it to your retail store if they aren’t safe for you to eat. However, a food so spicy has a tendency to irritate the stomach lining. Aside from being extra spicy, they are processed fatty foods, which are known for being harmful in excess.
Those With Digestive Conditions Should Avoid Takis
All of these factors can combine to increase stomach acidity, affect the stomach lining, and irritate your digestive system. If you have an underlying condition like colitis, acid reflux, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, or inflammatory bowel disease, it would be best to abstain from takis entirely.
Don’t Eat Takis on an Empty Stomach or Before Bed
Eating takis on an empty belly can increase the chances that it’ll irritate your stomach and cause cramps. It won’t give you an ulcer, but snacking on them right before bed can make it more likely to cause heartburn.
If you have a mouth sore or are pregnant with morning sickness, you should also think carefully before opening a bag of takis because it could worsen your symptoms.
Avoid Takis if You Are Sensitive to Spice
Even without having an underlying condition or doing anything wrong, some people may react to spicy food, including takis. These reactions could be as mild as a throat burn or a tad more severe, like diarrhea or indigestion.
If that happens to you, you should stop eating the takis and get some milk, ice water, or juice. With a really bad reaction, please seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you like takis as much as we do, you could talk to your doctor or nutritionist to find a safer alternative snack for you.
Takis are delicious, and it’s easy to feel like you’re getting addicted to them. The FDA fully approves Takis, and it is perfectly safe to eat them in moderation. Before opening a bag of takis, check the serving size to know how much to eat at once. If you have an underlying medical condition, it might be best to stay off food as spicy as takis.
- CBS Philly: Doctors Warn Eating Too Many Hot Snack Chips Can Irritate Stomach Lining
- Medical News Today: What to know about food addiction
- Wholesome Alive: Are Takis Bad For You? 2 Proven Reasons To Consider For That
- Healthline: 8 Common Symptoms of Food Addiction
- Healthline: How to Overcome Food Addiction
- Thrillist: 9 Healthy Ways to Beat Your Potato Chip Addiction