10 Addictive Foods and Their Harmful Consequences

addictive-foodsYou encounter addictive foods everywhere you go. You have the best of intentions, you set goals, make plans, join a gym, but it’s all for naught if you get around a bowl of potato chips or chocolate candy. You’re addicted and it’s sabotaging any progress you may have made.

You are not alone. Many people are having difficulty avoiding addictive foods. Many of us have foods that we simply cannot resist or say no to. “Cake? Well I shouldn’t, it’s not on my diet, but…”  Food addiction is real, it may be emotional, a comfort food taking us back to a happier time or it may be physical as with sugar or caffeine addiction.

In a 2015 study, researchers at the University of Michigan studied addictive eating in 518 participants. Entitled Which foods may be addictive? The roles of processing, fat content, and glycemic load the study found that some foods are much more likely to be addictive than others.

Most of the addictive foods are found to be processed foods that are usually high in sugar, fat or both and containing little nutritional value. These addictive foods can cause weight gain and health conditions.

Here are the top 10 most addictive foods:

  1. Pizza – Packed with calories, dripping with fat and loaded with sodium. Topping choices of processed meats like sausage or pepperoni only make it an even more unhealthy food.
  2. Chocolate – Sweet, milk sugar, corn syrup and cocoa powder with just a hint of caffeine.
  3. Chips – Processed GMO corn or potato starch fried in trans fats and covered in salt or artificial flavors and colors.
  4. Cookies – Crunchy sweet processed baked flour and sugar with artificial ingredients and little or no nutritional value.
  5. Ice cream – So many flavors (artificial) to choose from. High in sugar and saturated fat.
  6. French fries – Deep fried foods absorb at least 30% of their weight in the fat they were fried in. If you doubt this, dump your fries on a pile of napkins and watch. The salt does not help.
  7. Cheeseburgers – Fast food chain burgers contain some meat (about 50%), meat by-products like bone, cartilage, connective tissue, and pink slime, preservatives, sodium, and up to 1000 calories. The buns contain chemically enhanced processed flour and any condiments are mostly corn syrup and food colors. Fast foods contain little “food”.
  8. Soda – Sugar, corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, occasional caffeine and many liquid calories. Sugar-free drinks contain chemicals to sweeten the mix that are also addictive.
  9. Cake – Store bought cakes and packaged cake mixes contain chemically processed flours, artificial flavors and colors and many calories even before the frosting is added.
  10. Bacon – Fat cured in salt and nitrates and then fried in fat. The only thing more unhealthy than bacon – pork rinds.

What is similar about all of these addictive foods? They represent the worst of the worst. Cake or ice cream are the sweetest of the sweet, fries are the greasiest of the greasy and chips (potato or corn) are often the saltiest of the salty foods.

The 2015 study concluded that “highly processed foods, which may share characteristics with drugs of abuse (e.g. high dose, rapid rate of absorption) appear to be particularly associated with food addiction.” These become our go-to foods as they act as a rapid delivery system for sugar, salt and fat directly into our bloodstreams, very much like an illicit addictive drug. 

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