Well, we indeed have less control than we want over our hunger. Chips, cookies, you name it. It isn’t easy to not eat snack foods.
Our conscious mind knows that such foods are unhealthy, yet, some part of our brain disagrees and wants more. You might be surprised to know that junk food addiction is similar to drug addiction.
So, why are we so addicted to junk food? Is it a lack of will power, or is it something else? Well, it is very complicated, and here, we are going to break down the science of addictive food briefly.
How Food Addiction Works
The reward system and the science of addictive food are inextricably related to each other.
A reward system is designed for rewarding our brain when the person does something right. It is designed to encourage the person to repeat certain habits, such as eating. When we eat, our brain knows we are doing something right, and as a result, it emits chemicals such as dopamine or serotonin.
When we talk about addictive food, we need to look at junk foods, which offers potent rewards that our brain wants us to keep eating. When consuming these addictive foods, a higher amount of dopamine and serotonin are released. On the other hand, if we eat a steak or an apple, a moderate amount of dopamine is released.
When you are hungry, which foods do you think your brain will want you to eat?
In short, we can say that eating addictive food causes a release of good chemicals such as dopamine, and therefore, it encourages the individual to eat healthy foods as much as possible.
How to Deal With It
There are many reasons beyond our brain’s “reward system” to explain the potential cause of food addiction. Poor self-worth, never being taught good eating habits, pressure from other people, or lack of choice.
The first step to overcoming any addiction is to seek help from professionals. The National Eating Disorders Association may be able to help. Seeking concousling too may be a good idea. From there, you will need an action plan that will help to turn around your current situation and change your relationship with food. Here are some suggestions you can try today as you look for other resources.