Why are we attracted to junk food? Why are those sweet or savory snacks that have an irresistible flavor called junk? Why is it not healthy to eat them all the time? We are sufficiently aware of the damages of poor quality food, yet we do not give too much weight. Why?
- Imaginative fruit juices and packaged snacks for breakfast (if not cap and brioche at the bar).
- A prepackaged meal or street food for lunch.
- Sweet snacks and sweetened coffee from the machine in the office for the peckish of the afternoon.
- Alcoholic aperitif and various appetizers with colleagues or friends before returning home.
- In the evening to make a quick transition to fast food or a frozen pizza seasoned to the brim because maybe you don’t have time to prepare anything else.
How many of you recognize yourself in this food day? Perhaps this is a pessimistic image (I hope) of a person’s usual diet, but in many cases it is not too far from reality. More than one person eats a junk food meal.
We are in an era where we have everything available: any type of cuisine, any fruit or vegetable throughout the year, dozens of home delivery services and food in all kinds of formats in supermarkets. Result? We eat worse and worse.
Although studies continually tell us that the leading cause of death in the world is due to cardiovascular disease and that the largest public health expenditure is determined by metabolic diseases, we continue to not do the only thing possible: to change our behavior in favor of a more balanced diet and a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Why do we indulge in these bad eating habits
Packaged and ultra-processed foods, street food, fast food, alcohol, soft drinks, sweets: all foods inevitably attractive due to their very high sugar, fat and salt content, which also makes them incredibly appetizing. In fact, they affect our pleasure centers and cause the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of fulfillment and addiction.
This type of food is usually called junk food, translated into English as “junk food”.
It’s actually beautiful to look at and good to eat, irresistible and captivating to our senses – but the truth is that eating like this makes us junk, and it’s the main cause of weight gain and onset. of ailments and diseases.
The World Health Organization has even coined a new term, “diabesity”, from the union of obesity and diabetes, which together with cardiovascular diseases represent the health scourges of this historical period. Also summarized in “cardiodiabesity”, these are the main problems that can be prevented or corrected through nutrition and lifestyle.
Why do we eat them even though we know they’re not good for us? Engaging advertisements, colorful packaging and punctual marketing techniques lead us into temptation and convince us to consume them without us even noticing. The fact that these are easy, fast, immediate and always available solutions fuels the mechanism.
Eating disorders linked to the consumption of junk food
This mechanism leads us to no longer recognize the true stimuli of our organism, and to confuse physiological hunger with “emotional” hunger. In fact, an alteration of the reward mechanism is activated, which causes a negative impact of these foods on brain function and can predispose people to disordered and impulsive eating behaviors, such as craving or binge eating.
Physical and psychological consequences in the short and medium to long term
The intake of junk food itself can promote heaviness and physical and mental fatigue, which in turn causes a low mood and states of psychological dissatisfaction and depressive states. In the case of the onset of diseases or weight gain, these negative mental and psychological states will be further accentuated, with the consequent search for other junk food to compensate for the need for comfort, triggering a vicious circle from which the person will really struggle to get out.
What are the healthiest foods and how they help us get the most out of ourselves
The addiction to this type of diet is sometimes so deeply rooted in us that untreated or natural food seems dull and tasteless. Rediscovering the true taste of food should instead be our goal, in order to avoid being enslaved by a commercial system that offers us junk food that we ourselves ask for and feed.
The healthiest foods are the most wholesome ones, less processed or processed, with fewer ingredients, rich in nutrients and not only in calories, such as whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruit, protein sources and healthy fats: only in this way is it possible to obtain a diet that strengthens our health and does not weaken it, to allow us to live longer in health and express our maximum potential in everyday life, without limiting ourselves to mere physical appearance.
The most effective and useful solution for achieving a healthy and balanced diet is to acquire stable habits, eat correctly forever and not just for the duration of a diet.
To do this, it is necessary to make an effort and act every day to acquire the awareness and necessary habits, with a job that must be done by each of us and that can no longer be postponed or left appropriate, but it must be based on science and the right strategies, so I recommend starting with the “start the change” course.