Junk food is one of the greatest dangers for modern humans, but not everyone understands why, or how to stop eating it! For some, it’s easy to give up junk food, sweets, and pastries, but for many, overcoming this indulgence for a healthy diet is very difficult. Healthy eating must become not just a habit, but an integral part of a lifestyle for everyone who wants to live a long and happy life.
Why Is Excessive Junk Food Dangerous?
Excessive passion for processed food and snacks is a top reason for obesity and high disease rates in different countries all over the world. Americans are the leaders in this category however. They spend more $60 billion annually on snack foods, many of it processed food high in sugar. Unprocessed foods are created by nature, that’s why human body easily digests them. The taste and consistency of natural food is supposed to easily satiate hunger. In contrast, junk food and other processed foods contain a big amount of salt, sugar, and flavor enhancers, that are very addictive and leave us wanting more.
Craving junk food isn’t only about your body; it also affects your brain. According to the latest research, abuse of unhealthy food causes addiction and affects the striatum, one of the nuclei of the human forebrain that coordinates multiple aspects of cognition, in particular motivation, making decisions, and reward perception. The fact that the striatum is also activated by such things as sex and illegal drugs, once again stresses the importance of breaking addition to unhealthy food. Food high in fats and carbs becomes strongly liked, it hyper-activates the addiction centers and thus boosts addiction circuits.
Luckily, we can transform our brain over time, to go from craving junk food, to craving healthy food.
Here are 6 Effective Ways to Give up Junk Food for a Healthier Diet.
1. Take a clear look at your cravings. Our brain consumes a lot of energy, for that reason it constantly needs nutrients. On the one hand, foods rich in fats and carbs give a powerful boost of energy and activate the production of dopamine that makes us feel happy. On the other hand, they cause addiction circuits in the way described above in order to anticipate their eating by people. Preventing cravings before they begin, is the best approach to break any addiction cycle. You should consume more healthy good-tasting foods rich in carbs, as their digestion takes more time and abates the link between the taste of foods and the hyperactivation of the addiction centers.
2. Eat consciously. You shouldn’t just throw food into your mouth; everyone knows this principle, but only a few follow it. Show respect to what you eat – while biting, chewing and swallowing you should pay attention to taste, smell, and structure of the food and satisfy every bite on your plate.
3. Choose the right utensils for eating. It’s worth mentioning the illusions that trick your brain and make your brain feel more full than it really is. Prefer taller and thinner glasses to shorter and wider ones (unless you're drinking water or a healthy drink), because an equal amount of any beverage looks bigger in the former than in the latter. The same situation with plates – people eat more if food is served on the bigger plate and vice versa.
4. Examine the cause. If you want to transform a bad habit, you need to clearly see why you are doing it. Maybe you eat junk food when you're sad, angry, or feeling unloved. Sometimes we don't even realize certain bad habits are coping mechanisms for difficult emotions. Look into what you desire when you're eating junk. Instead focus on what how you'd like to treat your body instead Visualize yourself as healthy, and vibrant, and someone who eats well. Write down your purpose and cause in improving what you eat and keep coming back to it to stay consistent.
5. Make your cravings healthier. It is difficult to abandon everything at once, but you can get creative in implementing alternatives to unhealthy junk food. For example, if you crave sweet potato fries, bake sweet potato in the over instead. Eat various fruits instead of candies. Even your favorite chocolate can be eaten, but only a few pieces of dark chocolate, instead of an entire bar of sugary chocolate. These are small examples of where you will not need to go gold turkey in changing your diet completely. You can always find an alternative way of eating.
6. Realize your weaknesses and be gentle with yourself. You must be conscious when you choose food. Yes, you have the power to choose everyday to eat food that is good for your health and well-being. However, you are not perfect. You'll mess up sometimes, or indulge when you feel like it. It's important to be kind to yourself for being human! Enjoy the subtle changes and healthy choices, even if it's not a total transformation, or you have days you cheat.
Final Word: Eating habits play an extremely important role in the functioning of the whole organism, and human brain also becomes a victim and a hostage to the consumption of junk food. The solutions above will help you control yourself and train your brain to want to eat healthier.
By Berta Melder
Berta Melder is a brand manager and co-founder of the Masterra professional content writers. She finds her inspiration in creative writing and blogging. In her spare time she enjoys aerial yoga and hiking/backpacking tours. Follow her on Twitter @BertaMelder.
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