Any dietary change starts at the grocery store. What you buy and put in your fridge and pantry dictates what you’re going to eat. Let’s look at which foods are safe and which to avoid if you’re trying to prevent or get rid of food addiction.

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If you’ve been struggling with a certain food for a while, then you know what it is and you know you shouldn’t have it at home to avoid temptation. But many people don’t have a specific food like that. So, what kind of foods are more likely to make you eat more than you want? A 2015 study called ‘Which foods may be addictive? The roles of processing, fat content, and glycaemic load’ attempted to answer that question. The researchers asked over 500 participants to indicate which foods (from a set of 35) were most associated with addictive-like eating behaviours. These are the results. The number following each food is the average score given in the study, where 1 is not at all addictive and 7 is extremely addictive.

16 Most addictive foods

1. Pizza (4.01)
2. Chocolate (3.73)
3. Chips (3.73)
4. Cookies (3.71)
5. Ice cream (3.68)
6. French fries (3.60)
7. Cheeseburgers (3.51)
8. Soda (3.29)
9. Cake (3.26)
10. Cheese (3.22)
11. Bacon (3.03)
12. Fried chicken (2.97)
13. Rolls (2.73)
14. Popcorn, buttered (2.64)
15. Breakfast cereal (2.59)
16. Gummy candy (2.57)

Gummy candy are the 16th most addictive food.

16 Least Addictive Foods

1. Cucumbers (1.53)
2. Carrots (1.60)
3. Beans, without sauce (1.63)
4. Apples (1.66)
5. Brown rice (1.74)
6. Broccoli (1.74)
7. Bananas (1.77)
8. Salmon (1.84)
9. Corn, without butter or salt (1.87)
10. Strawberries (1.88)
11. Granola bar (1.93)
12. Water (1.94)
13. Crackers, plain (2.07)
14. Pretzels (2.13)
15. Chicken breast (2.16)
16. Eggs (2.18)

What is the takeaway?

The most addictive foods were most often processed foods with high amounts of fat and added sugar and the least addictive foods were mostly whole, unprocessed foods. No surprise here but it’s a good reminder that processed so-called junk foods truly do influence how we relate to food.

Ice cream is considered one of the most addictive foods.

Be strategic in a supermarket

It’s important to put this in practice, though. When you go to a store shop around the edges, spend a lot of time in the fruit and vegetable area, go straight to dairy, fish, and meat, and avoid aisles with candy, chips, and other shiny-looking products. Just the sight of something tempting can be enough of a cue to override your willpower.

Go to farmers’ markets

The best place to shop is farmers’ markets. The majority of things sold there are whole, fresh, seasonal, unprocessed ingredients. You won’t be tempted to buy junk food and you’ll be sure to leave with plenty of healthy stuff.

Next up in Breaking Food Addiction series

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