In a recent study, researchers showed that rats eating high-calorie foods like cookies, pies, and cake for just two weeks not only gained weight but also lost their desire to seek out other foods.
Turns out that Junk food actually activates the same area in the brain as drugs like cocaine. Does this mean habitual junk food eaters are not too different from drug addicts?
Think about how impossible it is to give up your favorite fast food. The cravings for certain foods is very strong and often you can't stop eating junk food even though everyone knows how bad it is for your health?
Processed junk foods, especially those that contain wheat or sugar, have a powerful effect on the “reward” centers in our brain. Dopamine is what gives out those strong signals of urges and cravings.
Here are three of the most addictive foods:
How about bag of chips and a can of chilled soda? Mmmmm...
The coating of salt, fat and starch add up to a sensational and chemical experience too powerful to be ignored by the human brain. Starch in potatos causes the same glucose spike as sugar, creating a high when absorbed into the bloodstream. When the sugar high dips, compulsive cravings for more happen.
The caffeine and massive amounts of sugar in soda is as addictive as it is tasty. The zip of energy that the caffeine gives is tough to ignore, isn’t it?
Sugar and spice and all things nice?
When sugar enters the bloodstream, blood sugar levels rise causing the pancreas to release insulin. This leads to a "sugar high." The excess insulin also encourages fat storage. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin you produce and the more likely you are to gain weight.
Not so sweet.
So what can you do to curb your bad habits?
Curb the habit of course. While this isn’t easy, it is possible.
Try the following tricks:
- Decide why you want to give up certain junk foods
- Set a realistic goal starting with moderation.
- Buy more fresh food and keep it handy
- Drink plenty of water to avoid feeling hungry between meals
- Try cooking simple, nutritious meals and storing them for later
- Craving for chips so much that it hurts? Have some. Just be mindful of how many you're eating