Are you hungry or craving?

Are you hungry or craving?

People often tell me “ I am (or I was) hungry all the time”. But are you really hungry or craving?
Most cravings are a side-effect of the modern food industry combined with our increasingly stressful lifestyles.

Many people turn to sweet treats when stressed. Your great, great grandmother didn’t crave Cadbury’s nor Crispy Kreme. In those days there was not much snacking at all. Snack foods had not been invented yet.

The habit of snacking on junk food is an invention of the modern snack food industry originating with the rise of supermarkets from the 1960’s. Junk food takes our caveman physiology by surprise and play tricks with it so we feel compelled to eat when we don’t need to.

These palatable and highly palatable* food-like-substances behave more like drugs than food in our body and that is the trick. In the last couple of years researchers have demonstrated the dopamine mediated pathway of addiction triggered by eating low nutrient, high sugar, fat and or salty foods. We could legitimately call them drug foods.

Before then, it was considered we over-ate junk food for emotional reasons. Now we know it is physiological as well.

Adding sensual layers to a plainer food enhances the craving factor. Imagine lacing plain vanilla ice-cream with a smooth coat of velvety chocolate, mouth-satisfying crunch of roasted peanuts, luscious river of caramel dotted by juicy chunks of cherry. It’s a party in my mouth. This is food as entertainment.

Try this eating experiment: eat 1 tsp unsalted peanut butter, then 1 tsp of ordinary peanut butter. It’s an eye opener. Peanut butter is not addictive. Salt in the peanut butter is.

Flavouring chemists and snack food designers are working harder than ever to hook you in. Check out the persuasive marketing and the layering of the once basic junk food.

* the new term for junk food