We’d be willing to venture a guess that a significant portion of the people currently reading this post ate, whether while watching football on Sunday or staggering home on Saturday, at least a single slice of pizza over the weekend. And there’s a good reason for that. According to a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, pizza tops the list of most addictive foods. A team from the University of Michigan surveyed 120 undergrads and 400 more adults using the Yale Food Addiction Scale to determine which foods, from a list of 35, have them hooked and which they can resist.
What they found, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that processed foods—those containing added fats and sugars—dominated the top ten. In this case, pizza, as well as the next five items on the list (chocolate, chips, cookies, ice cream and french fries) all earned the “processed” tag in this study. Cheese, which probably could have been featured in its own season of The Wire, comes in at number ten and is the first food considered unprocessed (American cheese notwithstanding).
It’s the processing that seems to be key to addiction, according to researchers: “In a similar manner that drugs are processed to increase their addictive potential, this study provides insight that highly processed foods may be intentionally manufactured to be particularly rewarding through the addition of fat and refined carbohydrates, like white flour and sugar.”
And while the Yale Food Addiction Scale does have scientific backing, one interesting result of the study is that “water” made the list ahead of all the included fruits and vegetables.
Check out the full list below. And if you need a slice to take the edge off after looking at it, we’ve got a recommendation for you.
5. Ice Cream
6. French Fries
8. Non-Diet Soda
12. Fried Chicken
14. Buttered Popcorn
21. Chicken Breast
23. Plain Crackers
25. Granola Bar
27. Corn (without butter or salt)
31. Plain Brown Rice