Everyone knows by now that eating junk food that’s high in saturated fats, calories and sugar, is not going to do your waistline any favors. But did you know that unhealthy foods could be messing with your brain so that you no longer naturally have an appetite for a balanced diet? In fact, by not eating healthily you are putting yourself at the center of a junk food snowball – and it could run away with you!
Junk food could change your reward signals
Recent research suggests that a junk food diet could change responses to signals in the brain connected with rewards and food making your appetite for new foods and healthy food diminish considerably; so in other words junk food could affect how your brain makes decisions about what to eat and could weaken our innate behavior to choose a diet that is good for us.
A junk food diet makes you want junk food
Regardless of the scientific details about changing reward circuits in the brain, anecdotal evidence suggests that the more you indulge in junk food, the less resolute you slowly become in avoiding these foods. This can lead to not only a rapid change in eating patterns but also lead to overeating, lack of resolve and the resulting problems of obesity and other health issues. Have you ever had a slice of cake one day and then found that you’re looking longingly at the cakes in the shop window the next? It’s not surprising that there are so many compulsive eaters out there if junk food is affecting our brain and controlling our appetite.
Finding your natural taste for a balanced diet
Even if you radically change your diet through sheer willpower alone, to break the junk food cycle, it may take time for your brain to catch up and start to re-program itself. However, you may find that to cut out harming foods you do need to take a strong approach. Cutting down on doughnuts might be difficult, so to reboot your natural taste for a balanced diet, you might want to cut out junk food altogether.
Stop the junk food snowball
The junk food snowball can gain the same momentum as other types of compulsive behavior, such as alcohol and substance abuse. However, with the right exercise plan, positive attitude and appropriate nutritional strategy you can stop it in its tracks.
- Start by getting rid of all the junk food in your home.
- Set a rule that you are not to eat any take-out food for at least a month.
- Keep a food journal. Sometimes seeing what you are eating in black and white can really be a wake-up call.
- Get healthy foods in and make sure you know a few healthy recipes so you are not left flummoxed in the kitchen.
- Lots of people have programed themselves to snack but is it just out of habit? Make sure you don’t skip meals or your yearning to gorge on fatty snacks will be stronger than ever before. The hungrier you are the harder it is to resist junk food temptation.
- Get active so you are not sat around and tempted to indulge in junk food.
- When you are out and about find local eateries that serve healthy meals or take a lunch with you that will keep you going while you are on the go. People often opt for junk food simply as it is more convenient.
- Stay strong and believe that in time you won’t automatically want junk food and that you will eventually get an appetite for healthier foods.
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