7 Signs and symptoms that you are addicted to junk food

I have talked a bit about junk food addiction on this blog before.

You may have wondered, how can I really know if I’m addicted or not?

Well, in this post I have listed 7 symptoms that you are addicted to junk food.

Some of them may apply to you, some of them may not.

What is junk food? Pretty much anything that contains sugar, refined wheat, trans fat and other yucky things. Cakes, candy, soda pop, pizza, donuts, ice cream, etc. You know the drill.

A picture of Addicted To Junk Food

Powdered donuts may be addictive .. although snorting them is rare

1. Multiple unsuccessful attempts to quit

You have failed at giving up junk food many times in the past, either by attempting to give it up completely or doing it only on a specific day of the week.

2. You get cravings despite being full

You have just eaten a meal and are well nourished, but still find yourself getting cravings. This is a clear indicator of something not being the way it is supposed to.

3. You indulge and eat way more than you intended to

You decide to give in to the urges, and perhaps have a few pieces of chocolate. Yet somehow you end up eating an entire box, way more than you intended to.

4. Continue eating after you are full – bingeing

Something that is common with people who have a hard time giving up unhealthy food, is that they sometimes tend to eat past their comfort level. They continue to eat junk despite being full and may even eat to the point of feeling sick.

5. Feel guilty afterwards, but still do it again soon

You have a guilty conscience after cheating and decide that this time was the last, now you’re going to be super strict and not do this again for a long time.

Yet, you still do it again soon and get the same guilty conscience all over again.

You may even start hiding your consumption from other people, such as your family.

6. Making up excuses in your head on why you should cheat

A clear indicator of being an addict, is making up excuses in order to be able to have your fix.

For example, you’ve decided that you’re not going to cheat this week. Then you have a stressful day, or maybe somebody brings a cake to work, and you find your mind having an argument with itself about why or why not you should indulge.

It is almost as if your brain is split in two parts. One part is controlled by logic and reason, and tells you not to cheat, while the other part tells you that you should let go and have whatever it is that you’re craving.

Usually, when such a mental battle occurs, logic and reason loses.

7. Unable to quit despite physical problems

You may be starting to suffer from the metabolic syndrome, are obese, becoming a pre-diabetic and setting yourself up for heart disease.

Or you may simply be slightly overweight, have acne, bad breath and your teeth are becoming damaged.

These are physical problems, and you know they are caused by your bad habit of eating unhealthy food.

For some people, such as the morbidly obese diabetic heart patient, it is a matter of life and death.

Despite massive physical warning signs, cautionary words from doctors and rapidly declining health, many people are STILL NOT ABLE TO QUIT.


If you have a family member who is a drug addict or an alcoholic, or you are one yourself, then many of these might seem very familiar if you replace “junk food” with “drug of choice”.

Actually, many of them fit in with medical definitions of addiction, but that is a topic for a later blog post.

If ANY of those apply to you, it is a strong sign that something unnatural is going on. If MANY of them apply to you, then you have a serious problem.

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  1. Kris, you have it down to the letter. The one thing I would add is that you become one of the most creative storytellers. Just like any addict you are looking for relief from the craving, and logic doesn’t always enter the picture.

    Not every one makes a connection between health and junk food. The risks of addiction are unpredictable, they may not show up for years. Some people can get away with it for years. They can tread water for awhile.

    I got mixes signals. where dentist would say its in the genes, many people eat sugar and have great oral health. This is what an addict wants to hear, even if a little voice tells them differently.

    I think it’s great that you are getting the word out, many people don’t recognize what they have is an addiction.

  2. Thanks a lot Blanche, I really appreciate your comments and I’m glad to see that someone agrees with me :)

    Yes addicts can get very creative at making up stories and excuses, that one is definitely true.

  3. WOW this is something. I havve some of those for bread.

  4. Kris,

    This is an interesting topic. Difficult to say because I have never faced addiction, but I believe there is a fine line between indulging and addiction. I love to indulge on junk food regularly during my cheat days, but I never feel hooked like I have to have it. I always know that I’m in control. I think if it gets to the point where withdrawal from these types of foods manifests itself physically or in mood swings or things of that nature, then that might be a sign of addiction.


  5. Hey Alykhan, thanks for commenting.

    Not everybody gets addicted to sugar and such, but according to my experience there are still quite a lot of people.

  6. Addiction is eating the girl scout cookies that you children sold to neighbors before they can hand them out. Putting the water faucet in the kitchen on so people in the other rooms will think you are washing dishes while opening the freezer and finishing the ice cream.

    It is losing prospective and having one narrow focus, your next fix. That may be the difference between indulging and addiction. You got this topic right.

  7. Victoria says:

    I don’t really know how I stumbled upon your website, but I am so glad that I did. Just today I was feeling lousy because this morning I woke up and ate a healthy meal but then the cravings took over and I greatly over-consumed junk food. I now realize I have such a difficult time quitting because I’m addicted. My family has a long line of alcoholics and drug addicts, I don’t know why I never made the connection before. Thank you for this. I look forward to overcoming my addiction.

  8. Hey Victora, keep posted because I’m going write more about this in the coming weeks and I’m also writing a downloadable free report that will cover all of this in detail, as well as how to overcome junk food addiction.

  9. Jojo Mathews says:

    Thanks for helping me notify Kris, I think, I’m addicted to junk foods :(

  10. Wait a minute, lemme finish my mars bar, so I don’t get all chocolate all over that keyboard again …

    Well, I don’t agree! I can stop anytime I want! Only thing is, I just don’t happen to want to! So there! Sue me then!

    I can quit anytime, matter of fact, I’ve quitted candy about 7 times already, and that’s just today!

    Juuuuust kidding Kris, great job as usual! ;-)


  11. Haha nice comment Mark :)

  12. The connections between addiction and overeating are many. A list like this makes it abundantly clear. Many of these symptoms are also valid for drug addiction. I successfully beat addiction to drugs, an addiction I almost immediately substituted for sugar addiction without realizing it.

  13. Hey Havard, thanks for commenting.

    Looks like we have something in common here :)

  14. Your post pretty much sums it up. Seven signs/symptoms of food addiction: can’t quit, cravings, indulging, bingeing, guilt, excuses, and even physical problems will not motivate a change.

    May be interested in John Michael’s seven part series on recovery from food addiction as he deactivates the projections of anxiety and steadily reactivates his health instinct.

    The first entry at http://www.paleoterran.com/journal/2011/6/10/becoming-paleo-part-1-the-yale-food-addiction-scale.html

  15. Thanks, I’ll have a look at those articles :)

  16. Great article and so familiar to me with my problems with eating too much bread.
    And chocolate.
    I was a heroin addict and a cigarette smoker but those are long kicked.
    I do control all the yummy food like McDonalds, ice-cream, cakes and so on but it’s a hard job !
    I drink fizzy water (San Pelegrino) which is a great alternativce to sweet drinks.
    Also am drinking decaf as normal coffee gets me jittery.
    I started eating strawberries recently with Splenda instead of buying chocolate.
    I’ll be reading all your articles.
    Many thanks !

  17. Hey Luna, thanks for commenting :)

    I’ve had a lot of recovering alcoholics/drug addicts (like myself) comment here and a lot of us seem to agree on that junk food has many similarities with abusive drugs. Perhaps not as powerful, but still a definite problem.

  18. Hi Kris,
    I only recently noticed that my sugary eating may be a problem. I have an addictive personality already (I smoke and I over did the prescription meds). I kicked the prescription meds on my own, I’ve tried for years to stop smoking, and have just realized that sweets are a problem also (found myself in the bathroom eating oreo’s so I didn’t have to share with the kids). I believe that beating the scripts was easier than the cigarettes and the sweets because there are no roadblocks to getting them. Meaning, I can go to the store and pick them up whenever I want but with a script I have to go to a doctor and hope that I can get some.

  19. Hello Rhonda,

    I definitely understand where you are coming from, I have an addictive personality myself and spent many years as a drug addict.

    You should definitely download my report, it is in the sidebar to the right and is free. It contains a good blueprint to beating junk food addiction.

    The cigarettes are much harder though, what helped me there was learning as much as I could about how nicotine affects the brain, as well as the process of healing. I found this website here to be very helpful, there’s a lot of good stuff on it when you look past all the horror stories (which are true though): http://whyquit.com/

    But addiction is a bit**, very tough to manage, and many addicts never recover. I wish you all the best.

  20. Kimberly B. says:

    WOW. Okay i never comment on anything I read so this is big lol. I’ve been reading some of your posts tonight and a little light bulb in my head is going off. HELLO I’m addicted to junk food. My entire family is over weight or obese. I am slender and somewhat athletic but I cannot bring myself to give up the sweets! My family has a long history of alcoholism so i see where i get the addictive genes from, which i totally believe that addiction is genetic btw. Also almost everyone in my family suffers from heart problems and diabetes. This article really hit home for me. I want to download the script you wrote on how to stop junk food addictions i think i would really enjoy reading it and get some helpful tips from it as well. My biggest thing is i want my family to follow in my steps of trying to overcome this addiction to sugar and carbs and just eating crap. Anyways I’m gunna wrap it up I could go on and on. Nice article keep writing =]

  21. Hello Kimberly, thank you for the comment :)

    Most people don’t even know they’re addicted to sugar, which means they don’t really stand a chance since realizing they have an addiction is the first and most crucial step towards recovery.

  22. Hi Kris, I also am addicted to junk food and I do realize that Im eating due to an abundance of personal stress that can not be avoided at this time. Any suggestions or advice? Ive gained 60 lbs and I am very unhappy.

  23. Hello Sheila, you should download my free report on junk food addiction: http://www.kriskris.com/junk-food-addiction/

  24. Hi, I just found your site today. I absolutely love it!
    I believe I am addicted to sugar. Almost everyone in my family is addicted to some kind of drug.(smoker and/or Alcoholic) I’ve made the decision at a young age to NEVER even touch a cigarette, and I haven’t. Alcohol is a struggle though..Ive’ really loved it for a long time, I never got really bad, but there are days where I want a drink so badly, Of-course I never allow myself to have one.
    Everything thing I couldn’t get from alcohol, I get from sugar. Today is my official ”break up” day with the carbs/sweets.

    Maybe I can get myself addicted to exercise!(hey, if I can be addicted to crap, than it’s possible) lol :)
    Thanks for all your help! Take Care!

  25. hi sister!
    i have not been eating junk food for the last past 5 years. (serious! i am 12) my mother cut me on it. thank you for this article. i normally eat chocolates only, is that ok?

  26. OMG…Blanche…I’ve turned the sink on so no one would hear me open the freezer door so I can get my hands on the chocolate peanut butter ice cream!!!! WOW!

  27. Maggie Harrison says:

    I have just read the seven indicators that i am addicted to junk food. I answered yes to everyone of them. Where do i get help, if it was drink or drugs i could go to see my doctor, but now food. I think they would not understand my problems. I am fast becoming desperate as everyday will be the beginning of my new eating regime, after i have had breakfast the battle begins, to be good or bad, usually i am bad. Up to now i have consumed 2,200 cals it os only 3pm. I wake with a gnawing hunger that does not go away no matter how much i consume. Cannot go on like this much longer.

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