Thursday, October 3, 2013

Why Americans Are Addicted to Junk Food- It's Not Your Fault

Who doesn't enjoy eating some occasional junk food?
But did you notice that once you start eating it, it is hard to stop?
Do you remember the potato chip commercial that said, " bet you can't eat just one." They were not kidding.  Studies are showing that processed food has actual addictive qualities. Making it  difficult to eat just one potato chip, cracker, piece of bread,  one bowl of cereal, pasta, pizza, or cookie for that matter.
According to new scientific research there may be a few reasons.

1. First, new research conducted by Paul Kenny, a neuroscientist, at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida reveals that frequent eating of foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat can begin to actually program the brain to crave more foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt, creating an actual addiction to these foods. This is the same kind of addiction that drug addicts experience. The new evidence suggests that junk food is addictive and that frequent indulgence can make you crave more . Making your eating patterns not a matter of will power, but a matter of addiction.

2. Secondly, Many women have a gene that makes their pancreas overreact when they eat carbohydrates, especially fast food carbs as opposed to carbs with a high fiber, nutrients, and low fat such as a sweet potato. Research at Yale University revealed that over 40% of women have this gene. The overproduction of insulin after eating carbs causes the blood sugar to drop, thus creating a need to eat more carbs to give them more energy. That is why women with this gene are prone to crave carbohydrates, which only triggers another blood sugar drop and the desire for additional carbohydrates to raise the blood sugar.

What does that mean to us and our kids? 
Well it means that we can become addicted to junk food and processed food and find ourselves overeating to reach a level of satiation.  Paul Johnson, one of the scientists at Scripps said, " This is the most complete evidence to date that suggests obesity and drug addiction have common neuro-biological foundations" He also added , " You lose control. Which is the hallmark of addiction". Obesity is an epidemic in the US!!

I made Black Bean brownies last week for my grand kids from black beans and other real foods. It was dense but tasty. It was made with no flour or commercial sugar ( made it with coconut crystals which are low glycemic). Since I had sent it to their home, I never tasted it. I asked my son how it was?

 He said it was really good . However, I was surprised when he said they still had half the cake
 left. He said, 'mom, when you eat something that is made with real food, you don't need more than one small piece. It is very satiating."  

How telling was that! It is true. We do tend to be more satisfied and eat less of real food that has fiber and nutrients! 
Try making a quick satisfying sushi bowl!(Recipe Link)

So, don't kid yourself. If your diet is mostly processed food with white flour, sugar, corn syrup, milk chocolate, you may be training your brain to desensitize and it will need greater amounts of processed food to experience the same good feelings it used to get from a lesser amount. This can set up a dangerous pattern for unhealthy eating and excessive weight gain for ourselves and out kids!

If you are looking for healthy real food recipes (all gluten free and mostly vegan) look through my blog

This post is part of my 31 days to better health series

Please leave a comment..

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  1. My daughter and I were just talking about "trigger foods" today. there just seem to be certain things that will start off a binge. Thanks for linking up to Real Food Fridays. Your contribution is valued :)

  2. Great information and love the brownie recipe! So glad you joined us on Foodie Friday Link Party. As a co-host, I want you to know that I pin, like, Google+ and twitter your link. Thanks for participating. I would love you to drop by my site at http://www.kneadedcreations. I look forward to reading your comments. Deb @ Kneaded Creations

  3. I don't know why Americans addicted for junk food but I am not. I always try to eat healthy and most try for gluten free foods

  4. Great post Judee, we all need to be aware of this information. When you live in the country like we do its harder to even find fast food, if we are hungry we have to cook. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope your weekend was great!
    Miz Helen

  5. This is such a great post! I think I need to start cutting more carbs out of my diet. Thanks for this and thanks for linking up to Saturday Night Fever! I'm pinning this right now!

  6. Great post! It's true that many of us are living off of fast food and it's sad. Thanks for sharing at Simple Supper Tuesday.

  7. Thanks for linking this post, Judee. I've read similar things about our brains being programmed to want more sugar. Interesting points!

  8. Great post - I recently became aware of how addictive sugar is and gave it up for good. The great thing about going sugar free is that it also cuts out most processed foods as so many of them have sugar in them! I have been sugar free (i.e. processed sugar and sugar substitutes) for around 7 1/2 months now and I have lost around 22lbs in weight since I started! I found quitting quite rough going for a while but it does get better and I rarely think about sugary foods now!

  9. What a great post! I'm going to feature this today! Thanks for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

  10. Hello, I'm GF since 2004 due to celiac and health issues. Feel great after stopping the grains! New follow for your social media and page. Follow back:) I posted Boo-tiful Ikea pillowcases to Saving at 6! Pinning your post:)

  11. Pinned your blog to the Celiac Awareness board too:)

  12. G'day! Interesting post, true!
    My food lifestyle limits sugar and have never been healthier or happier too!
    Cheers! Joanne
    Viewed as part of Food Friends Friday Chili Party

  13. Very interesting ideas.... This blog is really a food guide to all.


Your comments are appreciated. I love knowing who is stopping by to read my posts! Have a great day.