Weight Loss

Why we Crave Junk Food and How to Combat it

Why we Crave Junk Food and How to Combat it

Biscuits every day in the office, frappes on-the-go, a takeaway on Friday, a Big Mac on a Saturday…before you know it, you’ve been eating junk all week. 

We all know that junk food is unhealthy. We know eating a lot of it can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure and possibly other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, yet we ALL get cravings to eat bad stuff. There have been loads of recent studies looking into why we crave high fat and high sugar foods, so we look at what experts are saying about junk food cravings and how we can combat it to lead healthier lives.

Why do we crave junk food?

Exante Craving Junk Food

It’s all about the sensation.

Recent studies suggest that when you eat tasty food, it’s all about the sensation that makes the experience pleasurable:

The sensation of eating the food. This is what it tastes like (salty, sweet, spicy) and how it feels in your mouth. Food companies selling high fat/sugar products will spend a lot of money trying to satisfying sensation – this can be from the crunchiness of crisps to the fizziness of pop. It’s the sensation that your brain associates with a particular food or drink.

Childhood memories

Yep, just blame your childhood. The flavour, smell and even experiences around the comfort foods we ate as a child really stay with us all our lives. Anytime we eat those foods – like a bag of Space Invaders, Lunchables and Smiley Faces (potatoes) – our brain registers that feeling and starts to trigger the memories and responses that came when you ate it as a child.

Mood plays a BIG role too.

Are you ‘pinging’ unhealthy microwave meals high in calories and salt because you’ve had a bad day at work? Reaching for the tub of ice cream because you’ve been dumped? Our mood can really have an impact on the food choices we make – and every time it’ll be junk.

But, did you know if you ate the right foods (healthy foods) your mood would be boosted too. So, the next time you feel blue, try putting together a fast and mood-boosting meal or grab one of our nutritionally balanced shakes and bars. These are delicious and low-calorie, so you’ll avoid sugary, unhealthy junk. Shop below for some of our favourites.

How to combat it

Follow these top tips to combat junk food cravings:

  1. The less you eat, the less you crave. Research shows that the less junk food you eat, the less you crave it. Whatever you want to call it, the lesson is the same: if you can find ways to gradually eat healthier, you’ll start to experience the cravings of junk food less and less. I’ve never claimed to have all the answers (or any, really), but here are three strategies that might help.
  2. If you don’t buy it, you can’t have it. The best course of action is to avoid buying processed and packaged foods.
  3. Don’t comfort your mood with food. 
  4. Eat a variety of balanced foods.

Understanding why you crave junk food and learning techniques to combat it is just the first step. If you want to continue eating healthy, balanced meals, but also have the convenience of bars and shakes with all your vitamins and minerals in one, why not learn more about our diet plans such as Flexi Solution.

What’s Flexi Solution?

A 1200 calorie flexible plan designed to help you support and maintain a healthy diet. It combines fresh and low-calorie meals with Exante products to help you lose weight the healthy way. You can choose from over 75 different delicious and convenient flavour shakes, bars, soups and meals that all contain over 22 vitamins and minerals. They are also designed to make you feel fuller, so you kerb those junk food and sugar cravings!

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Lotty Cairns

Lotty Cairns

Writer and expert

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