The Most Addictive Foods In The World

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Let’s talk about the most addictive foods and how food addiction can have tremendous health consequences and make it challenging to stick to a healthy diet.


Cravings for sweets, chips, ice cream, and other processed foods can make keto and intermittent fasting virtually impossible. If you want to get healthy and lose weight, you have to get rid of your cravings for processed foods and carbohydrates first. 

Let’s take a look at how unhealthy foods can trigger the release of the “feel good chemicals” in your brain.

pizza and cheeseburgers

The 7 most addictive foods

Sugar and processed carbs are among the most addictive foods. Combine them with salt, fats, and cheese, and they become very difficult to resist. They often lead to short-term pleasurable feelings, followed by a crash and craving for more.

These are the most addictive foods: 

  1. Pizza

  2. Chocolate

  3. Potato chips

  4. Cookies

  5. Ice cream

  6. French fries

  7. Cheeseburgers

Not surprisingly, pizza is the most addictive food in the world. The irresistible combination of refined carbohydrates, salt, cheese, and tomato sauce stimulates the reward centers in your brain, which gives you pleasure.

These extremely addictive foods have one thing in common—refined carbohydrates. These foods make you feel good for the moment, but the feeling is superficial and short-lived. 

If you focus on adding nutritious foods to your diet, you will feel good for a lifetime. On the contrary, there are some foods that are not addictive at all. 

These are the least addictive foods and drinks:

  1. Cucumbers

  2. Carrots

  3. Broccoli

  4. Water

brain reward circuitry

Food addiction explained

Food addiction happens deep in the brain in a region called the nucleus accumbens. This section of the brain is a key part of the body’s reward system. It uses dopamine as its main neurotransmitter, along with GABA and serotonin.

The nucleus accumbens is intimately involved in creating the sensation of pleasure. When it’s stimulated by drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sugar, sex, exercise or other addictive substances, it releases dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. 

Addictive substances do not actually give you pleasure directly, they do it indirectly. The pleasure you feel is actually caused by your own feel good chemicals!

Too much sugar downgrades the receptors for dopamine. Similar to any other type of addiction, you will build a tolerance and slowly start to crave more and more of certain foods to produce the same amount of satisfaction. 

This can become dangerous and lead to obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance, and other health problems. When cravings become an addiction, you’re no longer concerned with the consequences. 

Check out this article that examines some of the studies comparing food addiction to drug addiction. 

woman exercising

How to cope with food addiction

If you’re suffering from food addiction, you can improve your health and eating habits by getting your “feel good” chemicals elsewhere. You want to find other ways to boost dopamine without consuming sugar. Here’s how!


Exercise is a great way to boost your mood and increase the release of dopamine. Moderate exercise has numerous benefits for your health and cognitive function. 


Sometimes vitamin deficiencies can cause you to crave sugar and carbs. Some vitamins also play a role in your mood. Carbohydrate cravings can sometimes signify a B vitamin deficiency. If you’re craving chocolate, it can signify that you’re low on magnesium.

Getting enough vitamin D can also be helpful. Vitamin D is great for any type of depression or mood issues. Try getting 20,000 IU per day. The best source of vitamin D is adequate sunlight, but a high-quality supplement can work too!

Vitamin B1 has the potential to improve dopamine levels. It helps to improve your mood, relieve stress, and provides a calming effect. 


When you do keto and intermittent fasting, your mood elevates and your cognitive function improves. Intermittent fasting and periodic prolonged fasting can help reset the nucleus accumbens. By removing the trigger to the problem, your dopamine receptors can go back to normal. 

Avoid environments where you’ll be exposed to sugar and don’t keep it in the house! It will be easier to curb cravings if you are avoiding the temptation. 

unhealthy junk foods

Key takeaways

Food addiction can impair your ability to get healthy and lose weight. Foods like pizza, french fries, chips, and cheeseburgers can offer you short-term satisfaction with long-term consequences. Salt and sugar combined with processed carbs can have detrimental effects on your blood sugar and the brain’s reward system. 

Focus on getting pleasure from other sources. You can even find pleasure in getting healthy and looking healthy with keto and intermittent fasting!


1. Why are processed foods so addictive?

Highly processed foods can be extremely addictive! Processed carbs turn to sugar very quickly and stimulate the release of your brain’s pleasure chemicals. This can lead to obesity and other health problems. 

2. What foods are actually addictive? 

Processed foods, chips, refined carbs, sweets, chocolate, and pizza are among the most addictive. Fat and sugar combinations (like ice cream) and the combination of carbs and salt can be especially addictive. 

3. Why are some foods addictive? 

Food can stimulate your brain to release feel good chemicals like serotonin, GABA, and dopamine. The more you consume, the more you want in some cases. This is similar to the consumption of other addictive substances.

4. Can any food be addictive? 

Technically speaking, you can be addicted to any food. The likelihood of becoming addicted is lower for some foods than others. It’s extremely unlikely that you would become addicted to cucumbers, although that wouldn’t be a bad addiction to have. 

5. What’s the most addictive ingredient in food?

Sugar and salt are both incredibly addictive. MRI scans have shown that the nucleus accumbens is very reactive to sugars in the diet. This part of the brain is part of the body’s reward system.

6. What are the least addictive foods?

Cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, and water are the least addictive foods. It’s very unlikely to become addicted to eating leafy greens because they’re low in sugars and refined carbohydrates.

7. How can I overcome food addiction? 

In order to overcome food addiction, you want to focus on healthier ways to reward the brain, other than with the food that you eat. Exercise, adequate vitamin D intake, and fasting can all help you overcome food addiction.

8. Why am I addicted to chocolate? 

Aside from food addiction, sometimes magnesium deficiencies can cause you to crave chocolate. Eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods to help reduce your cravings for chocolate.

9. Why are snacks so addictive? 

Highly processed foods like fast food, chips, and chocolate chip cookies quickly turn into sugar in the body. When you eat these foods, they stimulate the release of dopamine, giving you a pleasurable sensation and causing you to overeat. Food companies can use this to their advantage to make foods extremely addictive. 

10. What is the least addictive ingredient in food? 

The least addictive ingredients in food are ingredients that contain essential nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, including leafy greens and other vegetables. Cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli are not very addictive.

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