Do you believe that you can’t stop eating junk food or other similar treats? Do you feel like you’re out of control around food? I know the feeling, I was in your shoes for over 20 years and it was torment. But I’ve finally started to find peace with my binge eating and purging. I used to be unable to keep any sort of junk food in my house without eating it as much of it as I could in a short period of time. I would eat until I was sick or made myself sick and this would be followed by throwing out anything leftover. I would throw out whatever was left over because I didn’t trust myself with it.
Whether your experience with junk food is as extreme as me, worse than me, or not as bad, this article will help you to understand why it happens. The knowledge I share with you in this article has played a big part in understanding why I felt out of control with certain foods. Now that I understand why I binged on certain foods, I am able to begin stopping binges before they even start. I’m confident this knowledge can change your relationship to junk food and prove to you that you CAN stop eating junk.
In the past few years we have been bombarded overwhelming information about nutrition, sugar, processed foods and junk food addiction. It’s hard to know what to believe, but I hope I can clear some of this up for you from the research I’ve done and experiences I’ve had.
“Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurologically to certain foods, especially to sugar. They’ve discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine.”
― Michael Moss, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
This quote from Salt Sugar Fat generalizes what the junk food addiction research in the past few years is all about. Large companies that add a lot of not so healthy stuff into snack foods, treats and ‘health foods’ to get us addicted to it. So the short answer to whether junk food is addictive is yes. It tastes delicious and makes our taste buds and brain go “WOW”.
We believe we can’t stop eating junk food and that we are addicted, but we aren’t as out of control as we think.
There are a few reasons behind why we crave more of that junk or believe that we are addicted. The first one is explained above. The combination of salt, sugar and fat make these foods deliciously palatable. But the main reason (#2) is that these foods contain little to no nutrients. Our bodies are designed to crave nutrients for survival, they are pretty awesome and efficient that way.
Unfortunately, since most junk food contains little nourishment for our bodies, we overeat them. You crave more of it because it tastes good, but mostly because even though you might feel full, your body is sending signals to you to keep eating because it needs nutrients. And 99% of junk food is not nutrient dense.
This video from the movie Fed Up explains why we eat MORE food and crave MORE junk after eating processed foods. (Sorry it’s not the best quality, but it gets the message across).
Beware the dangerous dieting cycle.
Another reason we believe we have no control over junk food is due to the dangerous diet cycle many people are stuck in. I’ve tried every diet available to me. I counted calories, weighed food, counted points, gone carb free, been a vegan, been a vegetarian, only ate food that fit into specific containers, only ate fruit for 5 days straight, had sessions with a nutritionist, I did Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Herbal Magic, Paleo, Isagenix, Atkins and Juiced for 2 weeks (yes! ONLY drank fresh green juices, nothing else), plus all kinds of other crazy crap.
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably tried to diet at some point in your life. Most diets end in uncontrollable binges of nutrition-less foods and guilt. I was stuck in this cycle for almost 20 years and was finally able to break free through the knowledge and actions I share with you on this website. The deprivation of diets cause your body to crave food. Our bodies are awesome and if we try and starve our body, it fights back and sends signals to eat because it’s designed for us to survive.
But not all hope is lost.
Knowledge is power and we can overcome our junk demon – “I can’t stop eating junk” by actually ingesting more nutrients.
There is no denying that most people think, ‘I can’t stop eating junk’ when they are fists deep in a bowl of potato chips. These foods are designed to be highly satisfying lighting up pathways in our brain that scream YUM! But that doesn’t mean that junk food is an addiction. Joan Salge Blake, a nutrition teacher at Boston University doesn’t necessarily buy into all the hype about junk food addiction.
In an article on LiveScience she says, “Sweets and treats have been around forever. The problem isn’t so much these foods, but the frequency that we allow them to be part of our diet.” She believes more evidence needs to be collected. And I believe it really all stems down to the lack of nutrients that keeps us stuffing our faces with crap.
Healthy is simple and should be enjoyed.
Healthy is simple and there’s no need to make it complicated. Natural, nutrient dense foods are what our bodies thrive on. It’s time to drop the obsessive cutting out of certain foods and start focusing on getting good stuff in our bodies. Fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, potatoes, squash, pumpkin, garlic, spices, beans, eggs, cheeses and dark chocolate.
In addition to this you should also eat foods you enjoy. Personally, I really love grainy breads, rice and cheese. A slice of cheese on my baked potato makes my dinner far more satisfying and filling for me. I eat all kinds of foods, first focusing on the nutrient density of it and secondly adding something palatable to keep me satisfied. This discourages me from binging later or going face deep into a bag of chips because I was unsatisfied or undernourished. To me, this is far more healthy than a restriction/binge cycle.
My life and relationship to food is far more healthy now that I’m free from any sort of binge eating or junk food addiction. I still eat treats (junk food), but I know now that when my body craves more of it, it’s really just craving nutrients. I focus on eating foods that nourish my body and also make sure they are ones I enjoy and feel satisfied from. I hope through reading the information on my website you will be able to do the same.