By Jennifer Broxterman, M.S., RD
Can’t resist the chips… the cookies… the ice cream? Actually, it’s normal to feel like you can’t stop overeating certain types of foods. Processed foods, in particular, are explicitly designed to be hyperpalatable and irresistible. Here’s how it works — and what to do about it.
In the car… at your desk… with friends at a party… waiting for your partner at a bar… standing over the kitchen sink.
In our modern lives, it seems like there’s no context that’s not right for crunching on cheap, delicious junk food.
And how often do we keep the indulgence to one handful… a couple bites… just a taste? Once that package is open, most people end up eating more than they meant to. Much more.
There’s a reason this experience of losing control with processed food is so universal. The food industry has expertly created cheap, easily accessible products that our taste buds — and our brains — cannot resist.
By pairing perfectly-engineered, lab-created flavors with emotionally appealing marketing campaigns, food manufacturers devise products that make us feel powerless in the face of their tastiness.
They even take advantage of our evolutionary preferences for certain types of textures and flavors. Yup, our brains are actually hardwired to want more of these artificial concoctions.
And while this junk food might be delicious and fun to eat, there’s a big problem: It’s creating a vicious circle of cravings, guilt, and feeling out-of-control — not to mention poor health.
But here’s the good news: It is possible to beat the system.
In this infographic, we’ll explain exactly how manufacturers make junk food so irresistible, plus why we’re incredibly likely to overeat when faced with it. Then, we’ll outline 7 strategies to help you explore your relationship with processed food and take back control of your grocery cart, pantry, and eating habits.
(And coaches: Pass these strategies along to your patients/clients for effective steps toward habit change.)
For an even more in-depth look at junk food and how it leads to overeating, check out our accompanying article, “Manufactured Deliciousness: Why you can’t stop overeating (plus 3 strategies to get control).”