Overcome Addiction to Junk Foods
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Jonathan, Lynn, Eng and 3 others
Eating snacks during a football game or a movie is considered normal junk food consumption. That bag of delicious chips paired with the perfect dip, topped off with a thirst quenching soda sounds like the perfect combo for these scenarios, however, where does one draw the line between healthy or normal junk food consumption and junk food addiction?
This article focuses on identifying junk foods, determining the different signs of junk food addiction and how to overcome addiction to junk foods.
Ingesting snacks like chips, pizza, french fries, donuts and such, has become a regular part of life for a lot of individuals. Experts are firm believers in the saying "Everything is good in moderation". Eating a slice of pizza or some ice cream once in a while is okay; however, when this is done regularly and when combined with other junk foods, it can be a problem.
There are different reasons why individuals become addicted to junk foods. How many times have you heard about someone being so addicted to chocolate that they refer to themselves as a "Chocoholic"? It might not just be a coined word after all. Recent studies have allowed experts to identify that some foods can indeed result in a cruel cycle of addiction. If it's any consolation, experts are also researching how junk food works on the human body. Some results are suggesting junk food addiction is comparable to cocaine. Individuals are not addicted to junk foods because they are weak; most of the time it is caused by the demand of the neurologic system.
Ten Most Addictive Junk Foods and Alternatives
- 1White Bread: Who would have thought that tasty treat you get in restaurants before every meal was junk? White bread has been stripped of its nutrients; these include the bran and germ among others. Are you already desperately thinking, "How can I enjoy my favorite sandwich without white bread?" Worry not, because you can still get your daily dose of bread by simply opting for whole grain bread instead.Advertisement
- 8French Fries:
- 10Ice Cream:
Signs and Symptoms of Junk Food Addiction
- 1Craving Junk Food Even When Full: Imagine eating a full meal of steak and potatoes for dinner while still craving for something sweet like ice cream or cake. Craving for junk food and hunger are not the same. Most people have cravings - this is normal - however if this happens regularly it can be a sign of food addiction.Advertisement
- 2Eating More Than Intended: There is not really any harm when junk food is eaten in moderation, as mentioned above. However, there are some individuals who crave chocolate cake, and instead of eating a slice, they end up eating all eight portions. This is definitely a sign of addiction.
- 3Eating Until Overly Full: When you get a craving and you give in, one piece is enough. However, when you go for another and another, even after you are already very full, this can be a sign of food addiction.
- 4Guilty Post Binge: Feeling guilty after doing something means one knows the act is not right. This is good since at least you know something is wrong and personally you acknowledge it. However, when you do it again and again, despite the guilty feeling you get afterward. This is also a sign of food addiction.
- 5Making Excuses: Some people enjoy eating the food they crave at least once a week in moderation. There are days called "Fat Fridays"; or "Cheat Saturdays" or "Cheat Sundays", however, when it is the middle of the week and you find you want to eat something sweet there is a battle in your head. If you give in and make an excuse as to why you deserve eating that sweet treat, even if you are not hungry or have just eaten, this is another sign of food addiction.
- 6Continually Failing Personal Rules: There are individuals who set dietary rules or goals for themselves, like only eating junk food during parties, on the weekends or once a week. However, if you continually break these personal rules, this can be a sign of food addiction.
- 7Feeling Ashamed and Hiding Eating: Most people know that their food addiction is wrong; however, they may not always acknowledge it. Instead they feed their addiction by eating junk food when nobody is around. This is a definite sign of junk food addiction.
- 8Cannot Quit Despite Health Problems: Another definite sign of junk food addiction is continuously eating junk food that is bad for you despite acquiring health problems. Among the many diseases and illnesses that can be gotten from regular junk food consumption are obesity, Type II Diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer's as well as certain types of cancer.
Overcome Junk Food Addiction
- Accept that you have a problem with junk food addiction and it needs to be addressed.
- Accept that you need to change your eating habits.
- Accept that you have other problems caused by junk food addiction.
- Save the receipts when purchasing junk foods. Choose using your debit card when purchasing to easily keep track of your junk food expenses.
- Start counting calories of all the junk foods that you have been consuming.
- Identify which food products you continuously crave.
- Determine how often you crave these food products.
- Consider how you will cope without your junk food items.
- Find alternative food products to replace your unhealthy junk food.
- Always check what you eat; almost always there is a healthy option for the food you are craving for.
- Be prepared for the physical changes of junk food withdrawal, like headaches, feeling tired, etc. Don't worry; this will only last for a couple of days.
- Remove soda beverages from your diet.
- Say goodbye to salty chips in a bag.
- If you cannot completely get rid of food cravings, enjoy a piece or a slice once in a while to satisfy the craving.
- Steer clear of all you can eat buffets, as you are faced with too much temptation.
Tips, Tricks and Warnings
- Find out the exact amount of money you have been allocating for junk foods in the past year. Having a figure can bring you back to reality and can be a form of motivation for you to cut back.
- Avoid temptation by informing your friends and the people around you that you are staying away from junk food. This way, they will know better than to invite you or offer something unhealthy.
- Eliminate one junk food at a time. Getting rid of an entire lifestyle at one point can be very difficult, not to mention dangerous. Identify which junk food you are craving the most and start from there.
- Check out supplements that can help stop junk food craving. These include chromium alpha lipoic acid, American ginseng, alginate and medicinal mushrooms. Studies have shown these supplements assist in balancing out glucose. These also reduce inflammation and other symptoms of junk food addiction.
- Increase oral fluid intake because dehydration increases cravings for sweets and junk food drastically.
- When a healthy diet is maintained, better nutrition is acquired. This results in balanced blood sugar and many more health benefits. There will be decreased junk food cravings resulting in overall health and vitality. Increased energy is also noted.
- Carry healthy snacks like fruits or carrot sticks with you so when you feel the cravings or start to feel hungry, you do not have to be tempted by entering a store.
The world today has become more aware of these unhealthy foods and is going back to greener ways. This can be observed with the increased demand of veggie meals, vegan establishments, fresh produce, teashops, as well as establishments selling organic products. With that said, it becomes easier for individuals to start living a healthy lifestyle. Overcome addiction to junk foods by getting to know what junk foods are, identifying junk food addiction symptoms and finding ways to treat the problem. The sad truth is, it's still cheaper to eat junk food, than it is to eat healthy food.