Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Why Is Junk Food So Addictive?

Have you ever noticed that after eating a meal at a fast food restaurant, you feel hungry a few hours later? Why is that? Are you just plain hungry or is there something in the food that is causing this hunger? If you haven't had the chance to watch the movie, "Super Size Me", click here and watch it now for free!
"Super Size Me" is one man's journey into the world of weight gain, health problems and fast food. It's an examination of the American way of life and how we are eating ourselves to death. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock unravels the American obesity epidemic by interviewing experts nationwide and by subjecting himself to a 'McDonald's only' diet for thirty days straight. His Sundance award-winning feature is as entertaining as it horrifying as it dives into corporate responsibility, nutritional education, school lunch programs and how we as a nation are eating ourselves to death.

Before you start to roll your eyes at this video, I understand that no one would eat all of their meals from McDonald's for a month. It's a little extreme. I know that. But, I was fascinated by the chemical effect this diet had on his brain. When he got depressed, he ate another junk food meal and felt better immediately. Wow.

McDonald's calls the people who eat there once a week, "Heavy Users." 72% of the people who eat at McDonald's are heavy users. "Super Heavy Users" eat there 3-5 times a week. 22% of the people who eat there are super heavy users!

I recently heard a registered dietitian say that people do not get addicted to food, they just get hungry. She said that we can have an "
extreme hunger and the physiological drive to eat" but there is no such thing as a food addiction. Really? Do you believe that?

In 2002, McDonald's took out a full page add in the newspaper in France in which a nutritionist stated that there is no reason that anyone should visit a McDonald's more than once a week. McDonald's corporate headquarter went crazy and responded that this was only one opinion. They continued that the majority of nutritional professionals agree that McDonald's food can be a part of a healthy diet. The people who made the movie, "Super Size Me" contacted 100 nutritionists to see if this was true. Two out of 100 nutritionists said that it was ok to eat fast food two times a week or more. Twenty eight said it was ok to eat there once a week to once or twice a month. Forty five said you should never eat it and 95 of them agreed that it was a major contributor to the obesity epidemic that was sweeping America.

America is now the second fattest nation in the world. Australia has the dubious honor of being number one!
The latest figures show 4 million Australians — or 26% of the adult population — are now obese compared to an estimated 25% of Americans. A further 5 million Australians are considered overweight.
Are we both nations of weak-willed ninny's or is fast food physiologically addictive? I believe there is a chemical reason behind this addiction as well as a behavioral one. Let's take a look at the brain chemicals that are at work in the addiction process. Here are a few videos that talk about the chemical effects behind food addictions. The first one talks mainly about the addictive power of fast food.


This second video talks about the chemistry behind our addictions to food


This third video features Dr. Vincent Bellonzi as he talks about how junk food and fast food has an adverse effect on your health.


Here are a few articles to read concerning the chemically addictive qualities of junk food.
Is Junk Food Addictive?

Burgers on the Brain: Can You Really Get Addicted to Fast Food? What constitutes an Addiction?

Fast Food As Addictive As Heroin, Study Confirms

What Happens to Your Body When… You Carb Binge?

For more information on fast food, obesity and addictions, click on the links below
Why Diets Fail