Everyone knows what it's like to feel guilty about some mouth-watering morsel you just couldn't resist. But as I was researching food guilt, I was surprised to find out that scientists have created a guilt index based on how likely a food is to trigger taster's remorse.
According to a 2009 survey published in Appetite, the most guilt-inducing foods are:
1. Candy and Ice Cream (tie)
2. Potato Chips
5. Fast Food
People were also most likely to feel guilt about food they ate in a social setting—perhaps because we tend to eat more when we're with others, and rarely use hunger as our guide.
My other favorite food guilt tidbit:
When people are asked to imagine how bad they'll feel about themselves when they eat a piece of chocolate cake, their estimations of how good it will taste and how much happiness it will give them goes up. It seems like a reverse conditioning effect: We feel bad when we indulge in delicious desserts, so when we imagine feeling bad, we assume the food is delicious—and anticipate more pleasure.