I always find myself facing the struggle between eating what I should, and eating what tastes good. If someone were to hold up a salad and a slice of pizza in front of me, of course I’d pick the slice of pizza. I know that the pizza contains no where near the nutrients that a salad does but it’s what I love. I find myself wondering, why is it that humans know they shouldn’t eat unhealthy, but that’s the type of food that we’re drawn to? We know the food like pizza, potato chips, ice cream, and candy are not beneficial and have little to no nutrients. Yet no matter what we do, most people find themselves more likely to pick junk over healthy food. Cravings often drive me to make unhealthy choices with food.
Whether I’m in a hurry, on the go, or just looking for a quick meal, junk food is a simple choice. Most times, it’s easy to grab something on my way out the door so I don’t run late. I often grab a granola bar or something to try to keep me full throughout the day. I believe that it’s hard to package something healthy, that can last over a long period at a reasonable price. I believe that we have grown used to reaching for something quick to eat that is often not healthy and it has become habit due to convenience.
Our bodies know when we need food, this is why we receive cravings. When we need calories to sustain a nutritious diet, our body craves foods with many calories. “From an evolutionary point of view, junk food cravings are linked to prehistoric times when the brain’s opioids and dopamine reacted to the benefit of high-calorie food as a survival mechanism. We are programmed to enjoy eating fatty and sugary substances, and our brains tell us to seek them out”(Smellie). I agree with this statement because it shows how our brains often think for our stomachs. I still continue to wonder why though. Why are we programmed in such a way that we are drawn to fatty, sugary substances?
In a recent study performed on rats, it was found that over time when rats grow used to eating fatty and sugary substances, they are more likely to crave them and face withdrawal when having them taken away from them(Bryan). Though this is not a human study, demonstrating why we are more likely to crave junk, it does point us in a direction that there is a correlation leading us to more information on craving addictions. Though, in this case, correlation does not equal causation, we can see that there is more reason to look further into this topic.
Bryan, Derek. “Reasons People Eat Junk Food Instead of Healthy Food.”LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 19 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Sept. 2014.
- Smellie, Alice. “Why We Crave Sugary Snacks… and Not Fruit and Veg.”Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 1 May 2011. Web. 16 Sept. 2014.