Evil Food Influences
None of us ever think about being addicted to food, without which we would die, but most people eat far more than survival dictates they should.
Evil Food Influences
According to Gary Wenk, Ph.D., author of Your Brain on Food, just as soft drug use can lead to harder ones, so a weakness for a certain food can point toward a possible avalanche of bad eating choices. He sees these foods as so-called gateway drugs, which make you feel out of control, possibly even to being physically unable to stop reaching for more.
This is, in part, because of their addictive effect on your mind and body, though rehabilitation is probably easier than you might think. None of us ever think about being addicted to food, without which we would die, but most people eat far more than survival dictates they should. Simply Merely thinking about a food you love activates the brain reward centre - the same area stimulated by drugs and alcohol - triggering dopamine release.
Since this feel-good chemical enhances your taste awareness, once that first bite is taken, all of your senses become engaged - often felt more intensely in women than in men, for unknown reasons - and your nervous system starts secreting insulin - dropping blood glucose and relaxing your stomach muscles - Resulting in your feeling the need to eat more to be satisfied.
This tends to happen almost exclusively with fatty and sugary foods, because saturated fats in, for instance, bacon and cheese impair the normal ability of the brain to regulate appetite and cravings - an appetite effect lasting up to three days before being flushed from your system - so one that a single unhealthy indulgence can be disastrous.
High-sugar foods have the unwanted effect of increasing ghrelin levels - the hormone stimulating appetite and increasing cravings - and because
sugar is known to enhance memory storage, so that, your brain has evolved a reward system giving you a real high when you eat sweet things.
Sugar and fat both trigger endorphin release, chemical feel-good compounds similar to morphine, which tend biologically to impact the body in a similar way to heroin. A 2010 Australian study found that if your brain is engaged in other activities, you do not dwell on those cravings, so keeping your grey matter occupied helps, be it with crosswords or reading.
Try also switching to healthier snacks, like fruit, because once your senses have been engaged, your body will naturally demand more nutrition, but in deciding what to give it, fruit can freshen up the palate, which can help dampen down those unwanted cravings.
Because research has shown also that proximity to food influences how much of it you eat, then keeping the healthier food options in plain sight, while the less desirable are hidden away or just not there makes the most sense for those serious about changing their eating habits.
Some foods can undoubtedly exert an evil influence, if you choose to look at it that way, so it seems only right that you do allow yourself the odd treat, but bear in mind how easily you can come unstuck on that slippery slope. Just reflect that, every meal you elect to enjoy is a chance to get it right in dietary terms. You be the one who dictates the terms, instead of letting those fatally attractive foodstuffs dictating to you.