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Why Do We Crave Junk Foods?

Dr. Aqeel Ahmed

1 min read

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Do you ever wonder why your body craves unhealthy, sugary, fatty fried food and it is really hard to stop yourself from not downing that can of coke or not munching on that slice of pizza? By the time you realize that you went overboard, it is usually very late. Even though there is nothing wrong with cravings, giving in to them all the time could spell trouble. If you find yourself helpless when it comes to junk food, here are some reasons that could be at play:

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1-You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep:

Various studies have shown that inadequate sleep can lead to an increase in cravings for unhealthy food. For instance, a recent study has found out that when people don’t get enough sleep, they are more drawn to unhealthy foods such as pizza and donuts as the brain perceives them to be more rewarding and pleasing than healthier options such as yogurt and carrots. Since sleep deprivation negatively affects the body, it looks for other ways to comfort itself. Moreover, lack of sleep also hinders your brain’s ability to make healthier food choices.

2-It’s Genetic:

Long ago, when there were no refrigerators, supermarkets, and drive-throughs, our caveman ancestors would feast on a high-calorie meal since they didn’t know how the next hunt would go. They had to load up on food to survive till the next meal. Thankfully, it is no longer that difficult for us to get a meal, but we are somehow hard-wired to have big meals and it is just to hard to hold back.

3-You Are Pumped Up:

When we are in a good mood or happy about something, we tend to celebrate or reward ourselves by feasting on scrumptious food and that elevated mood might also temporarily cloud our judgment and make us go into a calorie overdrive. Positive emotions have been shown to trigger binge eating.

4-You Are Low On Energy:

Your body uses its glycogen stores for energy, but when you are on a low-carb diet, your glycogen reserves may begin to deplete, causing you to crave foods that provide instant energy such as cookies and muffins. That’s why it is recommended that instead of limit carbs, you should opt for complex carbs instead of refined ones.

5-You Are Stressed Out:

While it’s normal to experience a change in appetite when it comes to short-term stress, chronic stress makes your body release more of the stress hormone cortisol and this makes you reach out for unhealthy, high-calorie meals. Basically, sugary and fatty food affects brain chemistry and make you feel better. For instance, sugar lowers cortisol levels and research has also shown it to silence stress signals. Similarly, your body also craves carbs when you are stressed out as carbs boost serotonin level and calm you down.

If your junk food habit is getting out of hand, consult a nutritionist to redirect your cravings towards healthier alternatives.

You can find and book an appointment with top Nutritionists in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore  through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Aqeel Ahmed - Author Dr. Aqeel Ahmad Khan is among the Best Diabetologists in Multan. First-ever Pakistani Doctor nominated by UNFPA Pakistan for American UNFPA award for women health and dignity in 2009.
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