Food Addiction – Fast Food is Addictive

Food Addiction – Fast Food is Addictive

A new book claims that food manufacturers purposely create products that find the right combination of sugar, fat and salt that stimulates appetite. This starts a vicious cycle of desire and consumption that has resulted in a nation of overeaters.

Former head of the United States Food and Drug Administration, Dr David Kessler, explains in his book “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of Our Insatiable Appetite” that it is not sugar alone that people enjoy and become seemingly addicted to. If it were just sugar addiction, we would all be decanting packets of sugar straight into our mouths to satisfy the desire. The crucial factor is having the right combination of sugar, fat and salt.

When the fast food manufacturers get that combination just right, it has the effect of increasing dopamine levels, which plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning.

Added to this, packaging and advertising images and society’s approval of food as an acceptable indulgence, will cause many of us to learn to associate processed, high sugar, fat and salt foods with easy to obtain pleasure, just like any other addiction.

Not only does this damaging combination of sugar, fat and salt become highly addictive, but also many fast foods are low in nutritional value, so that the brain still feels hungry in need of nutrients, and we “can’t stop eating”.

Dr Kessler recommends returning to the structured meal habits of the past, with set meals and smaller portions and, of course, elimination of junk food.