These 6 Things Are What Make You Crave Junk Food

Sometimes, no matter how healthy we are trying to eat, we have an insatiable need for junk food. Whether you’re one to opt for donuts or love your basket of french fries, when a craving hits, it can be hard to resist.

The best way to avoid eating junk food is to nix the craving altogether, but in order to do so, it’s important to know what’s causing your cravings in the first place.

Many imbalances in the body can affect the types of food you are craving, so it’s helpful to be aware of the number of factors that can impact what you desire. If you find that you often crave unhealthy food, consider these six things that can make you want to turn to the bad stuff.

1. Lack Of Sleep

If you’re not sleeping very well, this may have an effect on your diet. Studies from UC Berkeley show that people favor unhealthy junk foods when they are sleep-deprived, as the brain regions responsible for decision making become affected when you don’t sleep.

bed photo
Photo by Idhren

2. Thirst

We often misinterpret the signal of thirst for hunger, and even just a little bit of dehydration can cause fatigue, which leaves us wanting a quick source of energy. When you’re dehydrated from exercise or a hot day, you lose salt when you sweat, which could account for those pizza or french fry cravings.

water glass photo
Photo by RLHyde

3. Stress

Stress increases your levels of the hormone cortisol, and high cortisol levels can increase your appetite. Because junk foods are filled with salt, fat, and sugar, they have a reward-like sensation in your brain, and stress can trigger the craving for this type of pleasure.

stress photo
Photo by haynie.thomas36

4. Boredom

Ever felt the need to reach for a bag of chips while you were just sitting around? Just like when we are stressed, when are bored, our body craves dopamine — the neurotransmitter responsible for the reward-like feeling — so we seek junk food to experience this sensation. We then become conditioned to reach for these types of foods when sitting around or watching TV.

couch photo
Photo by tachyondecay

5. Low Blood Sugar

Research from the University of Southern of California found that when people’s blood sugar levels drop, high-calorie foods not only look more appealing, but our brains are less able to fight the desire to consume them as well.

Your body is looking for the quickest form of fuel, but because the area in our brain responsible for controlling impulses is affected, you are less likely to reach for the healthier option over the one filled with sugar and carbohydrates.

cookies photo
Photo by scubadive67

6. You’ve Had A Little Bit To Drink

Ever noticed how that burger tastes much better after a beer or two? The journal, Obesity tells Science Daily that alcohol makes food taste and smell better. As a result, can increase your chances of you consuming high calorie foods. When you’ve been drinking, you’re also less inhibited and more likely to make risky choices, such as eating that entire burger and fries.

beer photo
Photo by QuinnDombrowski
Food, Health

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About the Author
Carina Wolff
Carina is a health and wellness journalist based in Los Angeles. When she’s not writing, doing yoga, or exploring mountains and beaches, she spends her time cooking and creating recipes for her healthy food blog, Kale Me Maybe. Carina is also an ongoing writer for Bustle, Reader's Digest, FabFitFun, and more.

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