Food, air, and water are the elements we all need to survive.

But our relationship with food can be unhealthy, leading to several problems. Specifically, a recent poll found many of us are addicted to highly processed foods.

And addicted is the correct word.

We are talking about sweets, salty snacks, sugary drinks, and fast food. Another word for those kinds of foods is hyper-palatable foods.

. . .

A recent study found one out of every eight Americans over 50 are food addicted, and food addiction can lead to poor mental health, among other issues.

The study out of the University of Michigan noted the indicators of food addiction include intense cravings, inability to cut down on intake, and signs of withdrawal when we try.

We eat because our bodies need nourishment, but researchers in this study said our brains respond strongly to highly-processed foods high in sugar, starches, and fat.

"A hot dog combines fat and salt; that is a hyper-palatable food. Any food that combines two of those factors: fat, salt, or refined carbohydrate is going to fall into that hyper-palatable."

The study found one in four of us experiences a strong urge to eat something highly-processed. It is an urge so strong that you cannot think of anything else.

Read the complete article in CBS News