Have you ever wondered why you can’t stop eating foods certain foods? You know, those times, when you thought a small order of fries or just a handful of chips, two cookies, or one scoop of ice cream would be enough?
We don’t often overeat whole foods, like fruits and veggies or that breast of chicken you broiled or baked. Why is that? But hand someone a serving of potato chips or small order of fries and they’ll be looking for more.
There are a couple of reasons why:
The first has to do with your mouth!
Let’s talk about “real” foods – with their own natural flavor, whole foods satisfy the taste buds from the front of the mouth, and then in the middle, and then fade gradually at the back of the mouth as you swallow. By comparison, a diet of “engineered” food – the highly processed foods, fast foods, and stuff that’s really “food like” substances that’s passed off as food, contains additives like artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives, and added salt and/or sugars to give your mouth instant gratification – you taste them all at the front of the mouth. This is why people reach for the fries first and practically finish them all before even starting to eat their burger!
The second has to do with the additive properties of highly processed foods.
Research literature demonstrates that the addiction to processed foods is real: sweeteners, flour, caffeine, salt, and high fat foods, including dairy! These foods have shown a dramatic increase in use during the rise of obesity levels, as cited in an article in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. [i]
Third, your gut flora has something to do with it!
Animal studies indicate that high-fat, processed foods may stop the brain sensing fullness signals from the gut as the bacteria living in the gut is affected and alters the signal to the brain. When the body doesn’t feel full, it wants more food – this can lead to obesity.
Lastly, the purpose of food is to fuel and nourish our bodies – not just fill you up.
You could fill your car’s gasoline tank to the brim. But if it doesn’t have the right stuff in it, that car just isn’t going to function! Our bodies are the same!
Your bodies tell you when it’s hungry because it needs fuel and nutrients.
Most processed foods, and certainly most fast foods, are nutrient depleted. (Why you see words like “fortified” on cereal boxes or breads …the whole food used to make the end product was so highly processed to make the final product that the nutrients were literally stripped. When you eat junk food that has zero to little nutrients, your body tells you it’s hungry…not to get filled up but because it’s craving nutrients. That’s why it’s important to eat to live rather than live to eat!
In our Focus on Healthy Eating Program, we offer suggestions and share strategies on how mindfulness can change use the 80-20 rule to shift your focus to eat “food for life” and still enjoy the “treat” foods without falling in the quicksand trap of processed and fast foods. You’ll learn how to read labels to sort through their meaning, determine if a food is “real,” how to check in with yourself on what, why, and when you’re eating certain foods.
What food makes you lose control and eat too much?
For more information about our 12-week Focus on Healthy Eating Program, click HERE
[i] Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 34, No.3, 240-243 (2015)