We all know this feeling, buy why do we crave junk food?. You head out for dinner and all of a sudden find yourself craving junk food. You planned to eat healthy but soon as you look at the menu you crave some of the highest calorie items.
1.) Genetics tell us what to eat.
Our brains are hardwired to want the last meal it can remember with the most calories. After all back in the days of the caveman food was hard to come by so our body was hard wired to eat big meals and store food. However, in today’s world were food is readily available our brains have still not adapted.
Doctors currently suggest that the brain has a 2-3 week memory when it comes to the food we eat. Now if you ate pizza last night, when you get hungry today your brain will start to crave pizza again. However, after eating healthy for a few weeks your body will start to crave healthy food instead.
2.) You are not getting enough sleep.
Research has shown that not getting enough sleep leads to an increase in appetite and not for healthy food. A recent study found that subjects brains on 4 hours sleep craved junk food far more then those on 8 hours sleep. Besides affecting your decision to choose healthy foods, lack of sleep also affects your ability to focus and negatively affects your entire body in other ways.
We all become stressed now and again but unfortunately it does cause us to crave junk food. Your body knows that fat and especially sugar trigger the brain in a way that makes you happy and reduces the stress signals.
However getting good news can also have the same impact on your brain. Receiving a promotion can cause you to want to reward yourself by giving into your temptations and going for that chocolate cake. Furthermore it can actually cause binge eating, sending you into a spiral of junk food eating and devastating your diet.
4.) You need energy pronto
Especially when on a low carb diet you can deplete your glycogen stores to a stage where your body craves foods that deliver the quickest boost of energy. However, this tends to cause you to go for high dense calorie foods and not the healthy type. Always make sure to include a refeed day into your diet were you replenish your glycogen stores. Always remember not to go overboard though and try to keep the carbs as healthy as possible.
5.) You don’t just eat with your mouth
Our eyes and nose are just as important when choosing food that we wish to eat. Looking at pictures of junk food or cake can trigger the pleasure centers of the brain. This in turn causes you to crave that food and can make choosing a healthy option almost impossible.
There you have it, the main reasons that your body craves junk food instead of healthy food. By making healthy food choices we can help to curb the cravings and choose the healthy option for lunch and dinner.