Every adult's worst Halloween nightmare is seeing a gaggle of little ghosts and goblins flock to your neighbor's house - and totally skipping yours. Now, a week later, you've got a huge stash of leftover candy, and you can't keep your hands off it. But before you blame a woeful lack of willpower, know this: These treats may have you chemically hooked.
"Nobody's binging on spinach or broccoli," says Ashley Gearhardt, PhD, assistant professor in the psychology department at the University of Michigan. As co-creator of Yale University's Food Addiction Scale, she's contributing to a growing body of research that puts "food" - or the processed chemicals that pass for food these days - in the same category as drugs of abuse.
How can a fun-sized chocolate bar turn you into an addict? Blame sugar, salt, and fat. Our bodies have not evolved to handle this over-stimulating trifecta, says Gearhardt. Long before Mrs. Fields was peddling cookies in shopping malls, sugar was a rare treat, found in fruit and guarded by stinging bees; salt was a simple garnish; and fat was a nutrient that had to be hunted or foraged. Now, processed foods often contain all three (remember the bacon ice cream sundae?) - minus the protein, fiber, and water that help your body handle them.
So which foods are the most addicting? Gearhardt told us the top 10 - and yes, candy is high on the list. Find out if your biggest weakness is one of the 10 Most Addictive Foods and how to get it under control.
10. White Bread
3. French Fries
1. Ice Cream
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