The Science Behind Why We Crave Junk Food

Published February 23, 2016
Updated February 18, 2016

If you’ve ever wondered why we crave junk food, you might want to take a closer look at the way your brain really works.

Junk Food Science Header Donuts

Image Source: Pixabay

When we’re being constantly bombarded with warnings about the dangers of processed foods, why are the unhealthiest snacks consistently flying off the shelves? The answer is partly to do with willpower and cost, but it mostly revolves around how your brain interprets junk food — from its journey as a mere craving to the way it melts in your mouth when you indulge.

When we eat fatty, emulsified, or sugary foods, our brains release dopamine, a brain chemical involved in learning and new experiences. If we like what we taste, it also releases opioids, chemicals that signal enjoyment. Together, these chemicals essentially train us to repeat the pleasurable experience. Basically, our own brains are working against our best interests. Here are seven ways the human brain messes it up when it comes to kicking the junk food habit…

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.
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