The human body has been compared to an engine, and just like a car, it will poorly run if supplied with low-quality fuel. Every child grows up learning that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it kick-starts the body’s metabolism, and athletes are trained to eat a large meal the night before a big game so they have plenty of energy to make that last-second play
However, someone who eats anything that comes across his or her path most likely will not have as much energy as a person who carefully chooses what to eat. This is where junk food can wreak havoc on people’s diets, waistlines and digestive systems. Evidence suggests that junk food such as potato chips, soda and candy is designed to produce an addictive response in the person who eats it, though rehab centers rarely treat that kind of addiction. Instead, everyone can take immediate steps toward a healthier lifestyle and diet by breaking some simple junk food habits.
Designed to snack
No matter how hard they try, some people just cannot help themselves from eating an entire bag of potato chips or finishing off a liter of soda. The fault may not lie entirely with the consumer, however, as The New York Times explained that an entire industry of food production companies employ scientists, chefs and advertisers to create foods that are optimally crunchy, sweet, savory and sour.
According to the Times, multiple food giants like Cadbury Schweppes, Campbell Soup and General Foods have turned to Howard Moskowitz, Ph.D, director of a food optimization consulting firm in New York.
“I’ve optimized soups,” Moskowitz said. “I’ve optimized pizzas. I’ve optimized salad dressings and pickles. In this field, I’m a game changer.”
Moskowitz looks at various aspects of different foods, such as the complexity of the flavors, the visual appeal, the brain’s tendency to grow bored of a certain dish and dozens of other factors. Once he determines the sweet spot for a particular food product, consumers typically have a hard time eating only one chip or cookie and business profits skyrocket.
Cut out soda
Even though certain foods have been specifically designed to make it hard to quit them, it only takes a bit of willpower to make a serious change that can benefit anyone’s overall health. CNN explained that, on average, six weeks of dedication to a new diet is enough time to change a person’
s overall food preferences.
To start those six weeks, one of the simplest ways to take strides toward healthier living is to stop drinking soda. Health Ambition explained that the standard can of soda in the U.S. contains about 39 grams of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. For an enlightening test, place a can of regular and diet soda in a bucket of water – the regular soda will sink to the bottom because of its sugar content while the diet version will float.
Stop emotional eating
For some people, junk food is not so much a nutritional requirement as it is a way to comfort themselves during times of stress. FitDay explained that emotional eating can happen when people experience excessively strong positive or negative feelings.
This junk food habit is particularly dangerous to a healthy diet because it is not related to feeling full or satisfied. Instead, people who think they might be emotional eaters should pick up a hobby to channel their energies through an avenue separate from junk food. Spending more time with friends may also stop emotional eaters from indulging too much.
Of course, giving up all junk food may prove unreasonable for some people, so reducing junk food intake to a moderate level can be a perfect start toward healthy living.