We all know what food is healthy and what food is not. We all know that healthy food is far better for us for all sorts of reasons yet we still chose cake over fruit and chocolate over vegetables. We know high levels of fat increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks but we still eat way too much. We know that high sugar levels increase the chance of getting diabetes as well as other problems but we still eat sweets. Why can’t we stop? The simple truth is that food is a drug and pretty much everybody is addicted to it.
Food is essential in keeping us alive so to reinforce this, our bodies send pleasure signals via hormones such as dopamine, to the brain every time we eat to assure us we are doing something good. It’s like a compass that keeps us on the right track. The problem is that the higher the calorific content of the food, the bigger the dopamine rush we get and the more pleasure we get from eating that food. In a world of highly calorie dense foods such as ice cream, chocolate, burgers and pizza, the compass that kept us on the right track back when we were cave men has lost its way. The more of these foods we eat, the more we get used to this high level of dopamine from food and the more we crave it. As a result, when we eat natural foods such as chicken, salad and vegetables, we don’t get anywhere near as much of a dopamine rush and so we don’t enjoy eating these foods. Therefore we go back to the unhealthy food to get the rush back. Our ‘compass’ is leading us directly into a ‘pleasure trap’. For a good video that highlights this, look for ‘the pleasure trap’ on youtube. Here’s a link.
Basically we have gotten used to the rush of dopamine we get from high calorie, unhealthy foods such as burgers and chocolate. We have gotten used to and become addicted to this level of dopamine from food. As a result, when we try to eat more healthy natural foods, we stop getting that dopamine rush and start craving our unhealthy foods again. What most people don’t know is that if you can stick with a healthy diet for about a month you will start getting the same enjoyment off healthy foods as you did the unhealthy ones! Just remember that the cravings you are getting are merely your bodies compass that’s gone a bit stray in a world of unhealthy, high calorie foods. Getting past that month is not easy. It’s one of the hardest things you will ever do. If you can do it though it will make you feel stronger, fitter, more energetic, healthier and above all happier than you have since being a child!
As with any of my blogs, feel free to ask me for any more information or tips.