Why Do we Crave Unhealthy Food?

Food cravings, much like the craving to spend time with friends or significant others are primarily caused by associating these things with a positive feeling.  These positive feelings can start at a very young age (such as developing a sweet tooth) and can carry with you throughout your life.  An example of this may be if you have a cookie every day when you come home from work, you will begin to crave a cookie as the work day is wrapping up.  You will begin to associate having a cookie with relieving the stress of the work day and this will cause you to crave cookies when you are stressed about non-work-related things as well.


How to Combat These Cravings

Eat Regularly

Most cravings come when you have not eaten for several hours.  It is recommended that you eat at least every 3-4 hours to curb these unhealthy urges.  When you go long periods without eating your body turns what started as a simple case of hunger to an overwhelming craving of your favorite unhealthy options.  This is your body’s way of telling you it is time to eat, so it is giving you a little extra push.

Keep Junk Food Out of Your Home/Office

When your body is hungry it often craves what is easy and accessible. If you have left over Pizza in the fridge or potato chips in the pantry, you will be much more likely to fall victim to your cravings.  The best way to avoid these situations is to keep junk food out of your living and working spaces all together. 

Set Up Positive Associations With Healthy Foods

As mentioned earlier, your body often associates junk food with a positive feeling or mood and this causes you to develop cravings.  The best way to ultimately cure the junk food craving is to associate negative feelings with these urges. For example, if you associate eating a slice of pizza with being unhealthy, feeling bloated, being out of shape or all the above, you will be less likely to have these cravings. Conversely, if you begin to consciously associate eating healthy with having energy, being happy and healthy than you will crave those feelings more and more.

We all crave unhealthy foods, the important thing is to learn how to control them!

About the Author

Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson

Chris founded New Vision Nutrition in 2013 with the mission of helping people live healthier and happier lives. Chris’s goal is to increase the quality of life for as many people as possible through healthy habits and clean eating.