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Avoiding Addictive Foods

Toni Ann DiSantis

Food addiction involves being addicted to food in the same way as drug addicts are addicted to drugs.  People who have food addiction are unable to control their consumption of certain foods.  However, people don’t just get addicted to any food.  Some foods are much more likely to cause symptoms of addiction than others. 

Some junk foods can cause symptoms of addiction. People who are addicted to junk foods lose control over their consumption and usually gain significant amounts of weight. However, not all foods have this effect on people. Some can be addictive, while others are not.

Researchers at the University of Michigan studied addictive-like eating.  They used the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) as a reference. This is the most commonly used tool to assess food addiction.

Below, you’ll see the results about which foods were the most and least addictive.

Addictive Foods: 

  • Pizza
  • Chocolate
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Ice cream
  • French fries
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Soda(not diet)
  • Cake
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Fried chicken
  • Rolls (plain)
  • Popcorn (buttered)
  • Breakfast Cereal
  • Gummy candy
  • Steak
  • Muffins

 Not surprisingly, most of the foods rated as addictive were processed foods. These foods were usually high in sugar, fat or both.


Least Addictive:

  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Beans (no sauce)
  • Apples
  • Brown rice
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Salmon
  • Corn (no butter or salt)
  • Strawberries
  • Granola bar
  • Water
  • Crackers (plain)
  • Pretzels
  • Chicken breast
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

The least addictive foods were mostly whole, unprocessed foods.