Junk food is defined as food that is ready prepared, highly processed, low in nutritional value and often eaten instead of well-balanced meals. This includes such things as candy, ice cream, doughnuts, cookies, cakes, pizza, and more.
A lot of people have noticed how hard it can be to clean up their diet and cut down on the junk food, here I’m going to discuss the effect of junk food on the mind, particularly how it relates to addiction. I believe that people, who are unable to quit eating junk food, despite wanting to, are in fact junk food addicts.
You know a guy that is a smoker. One day, he decides that he doesn’t want to smoke anymore. He claims to be tired of being unhealthy and decides he’s gonna give up cigarettes. It all goes well for about a week, his coughing is reduced and he is feeling better. Before you know it, he’s back to smoking every day. You ask him why, and he’ll probably give you some weird excuse.
What does the previous paragraph look like if we replace cigarettes with junk food.
You know a guy that eats a lot of junk food. One day, he decides that he doesn’t want to eat junk food anymore. He claims to be tired of being fat and decides he’s gonna give up junk food. It all goes well for about a week, he has lost a bit of weight and is feeling better. Before you know it, he’s back to eating junk food every day. You ask him why, and he’ll probably give you some weird excuse.
We probably all know someone who has tried to give up unhealthy eating and that has found themselves unable to for some strange reason. Some people are suffering from obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and have really started to suffer, still they’re not able to stop eating junk. Reminds me a bit of the smoker that has been told by the doctor that he will need to have his leg amputated if he doesn’t stop smoking, yet he continues.
Craving. If you’ve ever been a smoker, you will know how powerful this feeling is. It is so powerful, that in almost every case you will give in even if you know you’ve made a conscious decision not to, and you’ve logically come to the conclusion that it is the best option for you not to give in.
When you crave something bad for you and you’ve decided you’re not gonna have it, it’s as if there is one part of your brain that tells you that it wants it while another part tells you that it doesn’t. It’s like your mind is battling itself, as if there’s an angel on your left shoulder arguing with the devil on the right one.
There is actual evidence that sugar and wheat can affect opioids and dopamine in the brain, the two primary neurotransmitters involved in drug addiction. I will explore these topics in more detail in an upcoming blog post, so keep posted.
I wonder if in 10-20 years we will look back at sugar and junk food the same way we look at cigarettes today. It sure seems that the effect of junk food on our mind has many similarities to addictive substances like nicotine, heroine, amphetamine, etc, along with having similar disastrous consequences for our health.