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Why Do People Crave Junk Food?

by Sarah Fahad
Cheese Fries

Who remembers that familiar scene from most sitcoms? Girl has a break up, girl is sad. Girl caters to her sadness by grabbing a huge and by huge we mean gigantic tub of ice cream from the freezer. She then proceeds to shove big spoonfuls into her mouth. Sitcom junkies fess up! You also probably picked up the following brilliant idea. That is, in times of sadness or loss, surrounding yourself with junk food like jumbo bags of crisps, colourful packets of candy and ice cream tubs will help you relieve your pain. In short that scoffing junk food provides the miracle cure to all your maladies!

Blame it on the Screen!

Yes, we are subjected to a gazillion images through TV shows, brilliant ads. It is here that we pick up our first cues. Our mind creates a link between consuming dubious food items to alleviate our foul mood. However, stuffing ourselves with these nutritional non- entities is the last thing that we actually need!

Emotional Eating

Reaching for the wrong kinds of food to soothe boredom or pain is like taking a ride on an emotional see saw. It is like being on an episode of Tom and Jerry. The chase is relentless and never ending.

Suffering from a bout of a severely bad mood? What is your first line of defense? You reach for empty calories to chase those niggling emotions away and in turn your blood sugar levels soar. Your mood receives a temporary lift- mission accomplished. Eventually reality sinks its claws into your artificial high. Your mood plummets as your blood sugar levels come crashing down. Now you feel even more crappy. So what do you do next? No points for guessing Einstein, you reach for more sugar, more refined foods to derive that artificial sense of happiness again. And so we set off in a very negative cycle!

Read our tips on how to break the habit of over eating.

Good Times do not Depend upon Junk Food

According to Jason Vale  , author of “Slim for Life” we operate under the influence of some pretty savvy marketing gimmicks which literally sell us a lifestyle. Our brilliant brains associate fun times with ingesting pizza, burger and fries all washed down with a couple of gulps of some soft drink. Get-togethers with friends are synonymous with foods oozing with fats and unhealthy sugars, dessert treats are a pay -off for something good that we accomplished etc etc. However, Vale pointed to a very valid reality. He provided the example of eating ice cream while watching a video. Now should the video be fun or entertaining your experience is bound to be a good one while you are gobbling that ice cream. However, should the video turn out to be a complete bore, eating that very same ice cream is not going to ease your restless or wretched state. Case in point, it is our mental perception rather than the actual taste of unhealthy food that causes us to hook on to it.

Hmm What’s a Flavourist?


Speaking of taste, here’s the flip side of the coin. Enter the mysterious “flavourist.” What’s a flavourist? You might wonder. Well, these are folks who are employed in the food industry. They are bearers of scientific expertise and knowledge when it comes to replicating and creating those oh-so- wonderful flavours of your favourite munchies. Inventors of natural and artificial tastes. Resisting the pull of processed foods that are specifically designed to appeal to our taste buds is decidedly an uphill task.

There are a number of factors that work against us when it comes to breaking our bad food habits. This article only touched upon the tip of the iceberg barely making a dent on the surface. Knowledge, dedication and commitment is required on our part to wean ourselves off our junk food addictions.


Vale, J. (2009).Slim for Life. Great Britain: Harper thorsons.



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