This is added information for “Eating Junk Foods & Why We Crave Them” from the Weights and Balances Newsletter of July 2, 2014.
What can I eat in place of junk foods?
- Tomatoes – high in lycopene fights inflammation which helps fight off depression
- Dark Chocolate – in moderation can improve feelings of fullness, brain function and improve your mood
- Yogurt /Greek Yogurt– rich in calcium and protein, eases mood swings depression and anxiety
- Mussels are high in B12 elevate your mood.
- Asparagus is a powerful anti-oxidant and is high in folate which helps prevent cognitive impairment.
Is eating a steady diet of junk foods linked to other issues?
Researchers have found that diets which are high in sugary, high fat, and processed foods and cause us to feel tired, unmotivated and decreased physical performance. It takes a pattern of eating bad foods to do damage to our waistlines and health, not just an occasional binge. Diet sodas which contain artificial sweeteners can cause gas and bloat. White (processed) grains/products can cause constipation. Couple these white (white grains) carbs with alcohol and you are looking at being very irregular. Foods high in fats can induce acid indigestion. These foods take longer to digest and if you eat on top of them, acid can splash back into your esophagus and create heartburn. Sugars and starches can spike your insulin and then cause it to drop which might increase mood swings. Combining sugar and caffeine are to be avoided when your hormones are raging. Colorings, dyes and nitrates are known to induce headaches. Try to not eat foods that contain large amounts of the chemicals such as some hotdogs and processed meats. If something you are about to eat has a colorations not found in nature, it would probably be best to avoid it. Eating a diet consistent in junk food can lead to depression was found in research studies. Foods you choose can affect your face and general appearance by inducing the aging process and causes premature wrinkles.
What problems can be caused if I eat a steady diet of junk food?
- Poor digestion
- Blood Sugar fluctuations
- Poor Brain Function
- Increases the risk of heart disease (high weight)
- Can lead to kidney disease (high sodium)
- Can damage your liver (trans fat levels)
- Induce type 2 Diabetes
- Increase your risk of cancer
- Pre-mature aging (wrinkles)
- Increase infertility in healthy men
What are considered Junk foods?
- Bagels, white bread, regular pastas, and breakfast cereals which are made from white grains and not whole grains.
- Cupcakes, cakes, pies, pastries; any foods which are high-carb, high-sugar and high fat laden foods.
- Hot dogs, Bologna and any processed meats made with nitrates. Look for nitrate free versions
- French Fries which take hours for the body to digest and are: high in fat, sodium, refined carbs, bad fats.
- Sugar-Free Drinks made with chemically based sweeteners such as; Aspartame, Saccharin, and Splenda. This includes the little powders you add to water for flavor.
How do I avoid junk food?
- If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it
- Avoid processed and packaged foods at the grocery store (inner isles) and shop the outer walls/isles of the grocery store (fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, etc.)
- Five Ingredient Rule – it something has more than five ingredients, do not buy it.
- Gross yourself out and do some research and find out what is really in that junk food.
- Eat a variety of foods and not just breads, pastas, etc.
- Learn better coping strategies to better deal with anger/stress/anxiety etc. We often turn to junk foods for comfort.
- Get outside and move; if you are moving you aren’t eating!
- Slow down when eating. Chew more, eat less.
- Scented Oils released in the air seem to over ride the appetite in some.
- Sip Black Tea to help feel “full.”
- Write in your journal. If you are writing you aren’t eating. Explore in your journal what you are feeling/experiencing when you feel driven to eat junk food. This will hep you identify your “triggers.” Once you have identified your triggers, you can learn new ways of coping with them that do not involve junk foods.
- Many have found that Self-Massage is a good way to help avoid junk food. Some examples of self-massage: Take a tennis ball under your foot and roll it around; place a ball on a wall and press your back against it, rolling it back and forth in between your shoulder blades
The bottom line is the less you eat junk food, the less you will crave it.