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Almost all of us ate things as children or teenagers that we don't dare eat now. For a closer look at seven foods that most adults just can't get away with eating, read further.

Do you get a longing for comfort food when you think about your childhood? Does food help you reconnect to memories of happy times gone by? It's fine to reminisce, but to keep off the pounds, we all need to be able to make conscious choices about satisfying our cravings. Here are ten foods that you probably crave and didn't realize that you do.

1. Vanilla.

Vanilla extract appears in places where you would least expect it. Vanilla is used to flavor ketchup. It appears in ice cream, candy, cake, cookies, pies, tarts, and puddings. Vanilla is even used to flavor pickles, relishes, mustard, and chocolate. And because vanilla also appears in infant formula, most adults who were bottle fed as babies have an innate craving for vanilla.

If you have to add more and more ketchup to more and more French fries, it could be because you are feeding your vanilla craving. If you need to eat chocolate every day, it is possible that you are actually feeding your addiction to vanilla. 

How can you break vanilla's addictive appeal? Go ahead and eat your dessert, but try a different dessert, preferably one you made yourself or that you know was not made with vanilla. Change the kinds of condiments you use. Buy artesenal brands or make them at home. See if these small changes help you control the vanilla beast within you and control you appetite.

2. Foods offered in red boxes or red wrappers.

In a lot of modern world, little kids have happy memories of McDonald's. The red box of fries or the red wrapper on a fried pie become literally imprinted in the brain with memories of Happy Meals and play sets. Decades later, the site of a red box or golden arches can trigger memories. Since you can't really ride the slide in the McDonald's playground if you are 52, you eat a Big Mac instead. Knowing the childhood cues that trigger your appetite as an adult can help you make decisions that control your calorie intake.

3. Hamburger meat.

One of the ingredients of hamburger meat, if you don't happen to eat kosher or hallal hamburger meat, is beef blood. Beef blood contains hemoglobin, a protein that can have unexpected effects on the brain. Beef blood, scientists have discovered, binds to sites in the brain known as mu-opioid receptors. These are the same sites that are activated by heroin or cocaine. If you get a buzz from eating a burger, it's because of the activation of your mu-opioid receptors. Knowing the addictive power of burgers can help you make healthier food choices.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Hoppert K, Mai R, Zahn S, Hoffmann S, Rohm H. Integrating sensory evaluation in adaptive conjoint analysis to elaborate the conflicting influence of intrinsic and extrinsic attributes on food choice.Appetite. 2012 Dec.59(3):949-55. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.09.005. Epub 2012 Sep 18
  • MIller CS. Are we on the threshold of a new theory of disease? Toxicant-induced loss of tolerance and its relationship to addiction and abdiction. Toxicol Ind Health. 1999 Apr-Jun. 15(3-4):284-94. Review.
  • Photo courtesy of overthinkingme on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/overthinkingme/4005898653
  • Photo courtesy of artizone on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/artizone/5564866598

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