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.
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10. White Bread
3. French Fries
1. Ice Cream
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