The 10 Most addictive foods and how to stop eating them
03/16/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
The 10 Most addictive foods and how to stop eating them

Can’t seem to put down that bag of chips? There’s a good chance you’re addicted to it. That doesn’t mean you’re gluttonous, weak-willed or a bad person. It simply means your biology has learned to crave junk food.

Food addiction is as real as an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Sadly, this form of addiction is often overlooked since it is usually framed as an emotional issue, not a health one.

In fact, people with food addiction are often unable to control their consumption of certain foods. And as if that isn’t bad enough, many intensely addictive foods are heavily processed and chock-full of refined sugar. These hijack your hormones, taste buds and brain chemistry such that your body will want to consume more.

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The result? An array of serious health problems, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Most and least addictive foods

As with other addictive substances, prevention is better than cure. You’re on the right track if you don’t already eat processed foods or chug on sweetened drinks.

But if you often eat unhealthy foods, don’t fret. In 2015, researchers from the University of Michigan compiled a list of some of the most addictive foods.

They studied addictive eating in 518 participants using the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS). They all received a list of 35 foods, both processed and unprocessed, and were asked to rate how likely they were to encounter problems with each of those foods on a scale of one (not at all addictive) to seven (extremely addictive.)

Their results showed that seven to 10 percent of the participants had a full-blown food addiction. Moreover, 92 percent of the participants exhibited addictive-like eating behaviors toward some foods. They reported a desire to quit eating some foods but were unable to do so.

The following are 10 of the most addictive foods included in the study:

  • Pizza – The more processed the pizza, the worse it is. Make pizza with whole, fresh ingredients. Don’t go overboard with the cheese either because cheese can also be addictive.
  • Chocolate – Not all chocolate is bad. But people definitely aren’t addicted to the bitter kind of chocolate that is reportedly healthier. Go for chocolate made with at least 70 percent cocoa and avoid the milk ones with lots of added sugar.
  • Cookies – It’s hard to find cookies that aren’t just baked disks of addictive ingredients. If you must have cookies, your best bet is to bake your own because you can control the ingredients and hold the sugar.
  • Cheeseburgers – Cheeseburgers are a filling, on-the-go meal. But these sandwiches are filled with fats, the incredibly unhealthy kind. These fats can clog your arteries and widen your waistline, increasing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Make your own burger patties with grass-fed beef or legumes.
  • Potato chips – No surprise here. Potato chips are deep-fried in vats of vegetable oil. They are also super salty and airy, so while they give you a pleasant rush, they barely fill you up. You need to eat loads to even remotely feel full. And that added salt can raise your blood pressure. You’re better off ditching chips.
  • Ice cream – You face the double whammy of sugar and fat when you eat ice cream. But they can be very addictive, especially in the summer. Luckily, you can easily make your own healthy frozen alternative. Ice cream recipes that get their creaminess from fruits, such as bananas, exist and are much healthier than regular ice cream.
  • Cake – No party is complete without a cake. But it’s high time to change that convention. You get plenty of sugar from cakes, from the icing to the sponges. They are usually made with processed flour, too.
  • French fries – The saturated fat and salt combo of French fries spells double trouble for your heart. Fat can clog your arteries, while salt can raise your blood pressure. Both put extra strain on your heart, making it work double-time to pump blood. This can eventually lead to various heart issues.
  • Fried chicken – It’s not the chicken that’s addictive. It’s the fatty, salty, deep-fried breading that covers the chicken meat. More often than not, chicken is fried in vegetable oil, which contains saturated fat. You won’t have as unhealthy a chicken if you bake it.
  • Breakfast cereal – Breakfast cereal is cereal loaded with sugar. The grains used to make these kinds of cereal are usually heavily processed, too. The more processed the grain, the less nutritious it is. Breakfast cereal also contains little to no fiber. You need fiber for digestion. Opt for whole-grain cereals.

Other foods that were addictive include soda, bacon, buttered popcorn, steak, muffins, gummies and rolls. And interestingly enough, most of the foods deemed least addictive were whole, unprocessed foods, such as:

  • Nuts
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast
  • Water
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Apple
  • Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrot

The first step to beating food addiction is knowing which foods are addictive. From there, you can try swapping those foods for whole, unprocessed and nutrient-dense ones as a way of taking back control over your diet. You can also consult a healthcare professional for advice on how to build healthier eating habits.

Sources:

EcoWatch.com

TheEndlessMeal.com

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