Be it any time of the day, most of us would reach out for a packet of chips or that chilled soda drink to give us an instant energy boost. When stressed or troubled we are tempted to bite into something sweet and sugary. That's the nature of junk food. It makes you simply surrender to your untimely and unhealthy cravings.
The attractive packaging, irresistible flavours and the overall appeal dominate your senses. Before you know it you're hooked on to them and fall prey to unhealthy levels of fat, sugar and salt. (More: Food addiction: does it really exist?)
Here's a quick look at certain foods that are popularly consumed but you might as well let go of. Top seven addictive and unhealthy foods -
Processed Baked Goods: With a whole pack in your hand, munching on just one cookie may seem impossible. Various studies have shown that processed foods contain high levels of fructose corn syrup which can have serious repercussions and can actually cause reactions similar to those made by drug abuse. Besides, this most cookies are made with refined flour which is equally bad for your health.
Soda Drinks with Caffeine: This is something that most people will find themselves addicted to. Soda's combination of sugar or high-fructose corn syrup with caffeine is the perfect addictive recipe. Regular consumption of fizzy drinks is also known to damage your teeth and bones. Of course, we know that coffee addictions are hard to break. Caffeine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and therefore regular consumption may lead to physical dependence. Potato Chips: With a bagful of crunchy potato chips in hand, you just can't stop yourself from going back for seconds. According to scientific literature, as soon as you bite into these chips which are loaded with sodium and oil, your body sends signals through the nerve ending right up to the pleasure centers of our brain and this eventually leads us into wanting more.
French Fries: You just can't seem to get enough of those greasy potato fries. The high levels of salt that they contain makes you give in to your temptation. A study conducted by University of Melbourne states that salt stimulates the brain cells in a similar way like cigarettes and hard drugs do which makes it difficult for most people to cut back on salt.
Ice-Cream: Most of us would eat ourselves happy with a tub of ice-cream. You should know that ice-cream is full of fat, calories, sugar, addictive fructose syrup and sometimes even vegetable oil. Therefore, it is as unhealthy as all other junk foods.
White Bread: A study that appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that processed carbohydrates (those that are found in bread, cakes, pasta etc.) make your body crave more. These are known to stimulate the 'excess hunger' areas of the brain.
Chewing Gum: This is one habit that you'll definitely be better off without! Most people would chew gum through the day to reduce hunger and keep cravings at bay. But, studies have shown that excess consumption of gum can increase your intake of junk food. A research showed that people who consume gum were less likely to chose fruits over junk food or candy.
The junk food culture seems to be far from over. Food companies would do their best to lure consumers towards these foods. But, getting into the habit of reading labels and deciphering the ingredients can help you escape their marketing gimmicks.
CommentsWith inputs from IANS and Huffingtonpost.com