Fast Food Addiction: A Major Public Health Issue
Abdul Kader Mohiuddin*
Abdul Kader Mohiuddin, Nasirullah Memorial Trust,Tejgaon, Dhaka 1215, Bangladesh.
Received Date:December 30, 2019 January 23, 2020
Fast food/Junk food is designed to be tasty, comforting and convenient. Unfortunately, whilst these foods contain lots of calories, they oftenhave far lower levels of fiber, water and minerals as compared to natural foods. Packaged food and snacks are also created specifically so that we getenough texture and taste from each bite to tantalize our taste buds but not enough to make us feel full. Its evident that fast food feels good to eat andtempts us in many different situations. Fast food first popularized in the 1970s in the United States, which has today the largest fast food industryin the world. As taste, time considerations, convenience, and cost are major factors that contribute to an adolescents or young adults food choices,fast food restaurants serve as popular sites for their meals eaten outside the home. Current approaches suggest that fast food restaurants should berequired to clarify nutrition information such as energy and fat content on their menu boards and on product packaging. This is important to help theconsumer to make better food choices before purchasing. An adequate, nutritious, and balanced diet is essential to maintain health for ones lifetime.To achieve this healthy diet, fast food consumption should be limited.
How To Know If You Are Craving Junk Food And Mindless Eating
Look at the statements below and check off any that apply to you:
- I often zone out when I am eating and graze on food, especially eating late at night.
- I ignore my hunger until I am ‘hangry’ or famished and try to skip meals.
- I often do other things when I eat and multitask.
- I eat in front of the TV and usually ignore the taste of the food.
- I go for a lot of convenient foods, and fast-foods nothing else seems to satisfy.
- When I’m emotional I tend to eat or skip meals.
If any of the statements above resonated with you then you probably understand what its like to crave junk food or eat mindlessly if none of them resonated but you still feel like you struggle what you eat thats 100% valid as well, we all have unwanted habits we want to change.
There is no universal right way to eat we all metabolize food differently and have individualized lifestyles. We can explore what works well for our bodies and build a meal plan to suite our personal health and wellness goals.
Cravings can often be the result of food restriction or from not eating enough in general poor nutrition intake, emotions, and stress can also impact your cravings .
If we are not consciously connected to how we feel, our motivation, and our strengths then our actions and choices become mindless cravings can be a manifestation of mindless eating.
Avoid Going Cold Turkey Cut Down On Fast Food Gradually
For some people, fast food is naturally their first choice. Whether its because of the immediate satisfaction it brings, cheaper prices, or convenience, its easy to become addicted to fast food without noticing it.
To counteract this addiction, you can slowly remove fast food from your diet. Try to minimize your visits to just once a week, then soon, transition to stop eating fast food for a month.
Going cold turkey increases the risk of you letting go of your self-discipline and going back to fast food. Doing small changes can help you stick to your goals better and help your body adjust better.
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Remember Your Dreams And Keep Them In Focus
If youre addicted to eating out and find yourself in the drive-thru every night, youre spending a fortune. Youre wasting money that should go toward paying off your debt, starting your emergency fund, or welljust doing activities MORE fun than going to McDonalds.
Do you want a boat? Do you want a vacation? Do you wish you had money for cute new clothes? Eating fast foods sabotaging your budget goals, because fast food costs extra money. Not only does the drive-thru cost more for your meals but often youre paying twiceonce for the bag of food youre getting and once for the spoiling ingredients in your fridge youre not eating.
I want you to remember your dreams before you go through the drive-thru. Put a sticky note on the dashboard of your car saying Disneyland or kayaks, or even no more debt. Every time you consider opting for fast food, remind yourself of your goals.
Dont beat yourself up if you go through the drive-thru occasionally. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture and thinking of long-term strategies to get what you want. If youre going to go through the drive-thru, plan the trip out. Put fast food on your weekly meal plan. Look forward to the treat and make the most of it.
The rest of the time, use these ideas to make eating at home fun again. Break your fast food addiction and enjoy a home-cooked meal!
Are you addicted to fast food and its sabotaging your plans? What cheap and easy ways have you found to answer the call of dinner?
How Food Addiction Is Treated
There isn’t one standard or widespread food addiction treatment method as of yet, Masterson says, and “finding a treatment center dedicated to this type is going to be hard to find.”
For the most part, she says, a mental health specialist can help you address food addiction by identifying any underlying thoughts, beliefs and behavior patterns that fuel the addiction, and then finding ways to replace those thoughts and patterns.
Cohen says there are two “radically different” approaches to treating food addiction. Eating disorder specialists do it one way and addiction specialists do it another way.
“Eating disorder experts will say that removing foods will only trigger a greater biological subconscious desire to eventually eat these foods, and usually overeat to abundance,” she says. “The guilt that then surrounds the eating episodes then triggers a restriction cycle and the pattern continues.”
In that sense, in order to heal your relationship with food, eating trigger foods can reverse the idea you’re addicted to food, Cohen says.
On the flip side, addiction experts may create strict rules around food and use a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous — in this case, it’s Overeaters Anonymous . In an OA program, abstinence from trigger foods is key, Cohen says.
A post shared by Christina Frangione RDN, RYT on Jan 21, 2020 at 9:29am PST
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How Keto Helps Manage Mikes Food Addiction
Today, Mike weighs about 205 pounds , so hes down 335 pounds from his highest weight.
To go along with his improved quality of life, hes also experienced a renewed sense of confidence, as well as heightened energy levels. Thanks to his new approach to life, Mike even received a promotion at work and is now a marketing coordinator.
His results with keto are truly remarkable!
Even still, whenever Mike posts anything related to his keto journey on Twitter, some people respond that he could have gotten the same results with calorie counting.
To this, Mikes response is that these naysayers dont fully understand what his life was like before keto nor do they get what its like to be in the grips of full-blown food addiction.
Its the difference between fighting cravings 90% of the day, or 10% of the day, Mike said.
Still, recovery is a bumpy road. In the summer of 2017, Mike decided to go off-plan too soon. He ate carb-rich foods and ended up falling off the wagon for a month.
But, for the first time in his life, Mike managed to get back on track after that detour of a month whereas, in the past, one mistake would have triggered years of unhealthy eating.
Over the three years that Mikes been eating keto, hes improved his physical health and worked on his relationship with food. And so, when he turned 46 in 2019, he was able to enjoy a sugary treat without triggering a relapse. Instead, he simply went back to keto the next day.
How Can Smart Recovery Help Me Stop My Eating Disorder
SMART Recovery provides its members with tools and support that they can use to help them recover from addictions be it alcohol, or other drugs or negative behaviors. SMART Recoverys 4-Point Program® is designed to help you overcome your problems:
1. Building & Maintaining Motivation Helps you identify and keep up with your reasons for positive change. Why do you want to change what will keep you focused on that goal?
2. Coping with Urges Dealing with urges and cravings is part of recovery. SMART has tools designed to help our members cope with urges and cravings.
3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors We frequently turn to using drugs to either escape from or avoid addressing problems. SMART Recovery participants learn problem-solving tools to help them manage challenges along the way.
4. Living a Balanced Life Addiction can put your life out of balance you may find yourself opting to engage in your addiction rather than go to work or school. You may find that things you once enjoyed arent fun anymore. SMART give members skills to help balance both short and long-term goals, pleasures and needs that were once out of balance.
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Zero In On Easy & Convenient Recipes
One secret to eat-at-home success is zero in oneasy and convenient recipes. When youre searching for new ideas use 15-minute meals or simple ideas you can create in less time than it takes you to get in the car, drive to a fast food joint and order.
If you put pressure on yourself to cook a perfect dinner every night, youre setting yourself up for failure . There are nights a microwave meal, a can of soup, frozen chicken nuggets with fries or frozen pizza are totally okay.
To help you successfully break a fast food addiction, stick with recipes you enjoy eating. While recipes and dinners dont need to be complicated , dinner should include your favorite foods.
If you opt for PB& J and cereal every night, youre going to throw in the towel and treat yourself to fast food. If PB& J and cereal keep you FROM eating out occasionally, when you really dont feel like cooking or didnt get to the store, then go for it! But if you dont come up with easy ideas youre excited about youll get bored quickly and the siren song of McDs will call you in.
Personally, I dont love spending time in the kitchen, unless its a special date night or fun occasion. So, Ive searched out as many easy, fast recipe ideas as I could come up with. I view it like a contest or challenge: How can I get dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes? Bam!
Keep Junk Food Out Of The House
You cant control the world around you but you do have some authority over what you keep in your home. Dont shoot yourself in the foot with a cupboard full of junk food ready to be cracked open when cravings strike.
So set yourself up for success and have fun stocking your pantry and fridge with foods you enjoy that will keep you full and on-track with any health and wellness goals you set.
There are a few tricks to resisting the urge to purchase junk foods:
- Never shop hungry: you’re more likely to purchase high-calorie foods like candy, salty snacks, and red meat if you’re in a state of starvation or food deprivation .
- Make a plan: follow a meal prep plan, or determine what you want to cook before heading to the store, make a grocery list and stick to what you know you need to prepare meals that will nourish you long-term.
- Determine healthy swaps: just because you want to eat less junk food, doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself or give up snacking all together. If you know how much you should be consuming everyday and stick to your goals, there are amazing nutritious and delicious ways to include healthier snack options in your meal plan.
This may be easier said than done, especially if you don’t live by yourself. If you’re living in a busy household, why not bring the family or roommates into your new vision of health and wellness?
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Finding Quality Treatment For Substance Use Disorders
This fact sheet serves as a guide for individuals seeking behavioral health treatment. It provides three necessary steps to complete prior to utilizing a treatment center and the five signs of a quality treatment center, which include a review of the accreditation, medication, evidence-based practices, position on the role of families, and support networks.
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The Science Of Food Addiction
Food addiction arises because eating lots of food makes us feel better.
But why does food make us feel better? And why does this cause addiction?
The answer is simple: foods rich in sugar, fat and salt stimulate the brains reward centre i.e. feel good hormones such as dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows us to feel good about ourselves.
Over time, the brain becomes more tolerant to dopamine. This means an ever greater quantity of food is needed in order to achieve this feel good factor.
Activities such as sex, exercising and eating all trigger dopamine. Each activity is essential for survival, so its essential we feel good when doing these activities.
Otherwise, we might not do them and die .
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Keep Sweets Out Of Sight
Move your food farther away so that if you want more, you have to deliberately as opposed to mindlessly go for it. Research published in PLoS ONE in 2017 found that people were more likely to snack on grapes, crackers and chocolates that were placed at arms length compared to when they were placed 20 feet away.
Tips In Overcoming Food Addiction
For food addiction recovery, it will take a lot of willpower and sacrifice to overcome it. It may take weeks or months, but you have to believe in yourself to overcome this. Everybody has different food cravings, and breaking food addiction is going to be different for everybody. But here are some tips you can start with:
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Time Line For Improvements When You Cut Out Processed/starchy Carbs & Refined Sugar
Within two days your blood sugar levels should return to normal. You wont notice this other than you might feel less moody, less stressed, and less anxious.
Within a week or so youll notice that you feel less bloated, most noticeably in your face, and youll lose excess weight at the rate of about 2lbs per week. That might not seem much, but as long as you enjoy what youre eating instead of junk the weeks pass and the weight drops off. Youll find that you have more energy more get up and go.
Within a month youll notice a dramatic difference in your waist measurement most likely having to adjust the holes you use on your belts at a rate of an inch per month .
1 month 3 months
Your skin, eyes, hair will look cleaner, clearer, brighter and more vital. If you have weight to lose it will continue to drop off but either way life will seem much brighter and lighter.
Signs Of Food Addiction
Researchers at Yale Universityâs Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy have developed a questionnaire to identify people with food addictions.
Hereâs a sample of questions that can help determine if you have a food addiction. Do these actions apply to you? Do you:
- End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
- Keep eating certain foods even if youâre no longer hungry
- Eat to the point of feeling ill
- Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
- When certain foods arenât available, go out of your way to obtain them
The questionnaire also asks about the impact of your relationship with food on your personal life. Ask yourself if these situations apply to you:
- You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
- You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
- You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.
The questionnaire asks about psychological withdrawal symptoms. For example, when you cut down on certain foods , do you have symptoms such as:
- Other physical symptoms
The questionnaire also tries to gauge the impact of food decisions on your emotions. Do these situations apply to you?
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How To Break Your Junk Food Addiction According To A Nutritionist
Dr Sana Azfar advocates the meal replacement strategy for developing healthier eating habits
Azmeh Khan, 30, is a housewife and mother of two. When I first met her in college, she was a short, stout girl, who loved junk food, wore XL sizes, struggled with acne and had begun losing hair. We lost touch for years until last month when Azmeh and I decided to meet up.
The minute Azmeh walked in, I could hardly recognise her. She had lost a lot of weight, had a clear, flawless skin and her lush black hair hung well below her shoulders. I was pleasantly taken aback.
You look great, Azmeh. Whats your secret? I put forth a clichéd question.
Azmeh giggled but her reply was rather boring. I quit junk food! she says triumphantly.
That cant be true. Quitting junk food cant catalyse such a transformation! I reply, refusing to accept her explanation.
It can. Unhealthy food inevitably affects our bodies in the worst possible ways. We dont realise but merely nibbling on a seemingly small packet of crisps or wafers can add pounds to our weight, raise blood sugar level, cause headaches, and induce acne, she explains.
Did you go on a diet or take any weight-reducing medicines that are extremely popular these days? I was fishing for more information, wanting to know the secret to her lovely transformation.
The dilemma is that they give in to their food temptations very easily.
However, making these seemingly innocent food indulgences a part of ones daily diet is worrisome.