What Causes Us To Eat Junk Food
Whether it’s chocolate, a bag of chips, a biscuit or a juicy burger, we are all stricken with cravings for certain foods sooner or later, to varying degrees. Cravings, however, in many cases may not be what they appear. Sometimes it’s about listening to your body to determine what it’s really asking.
The body requires macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to function optimally in homeostasis. If the body is deficient in a nutrient, it will likely show a sign. In many cases, that sign is a food craving.
For example, if the body does not receive enough essential fats, like omega-3s, it may cue us to eat more fat. If the body throws a craving for fat at us, we’re probably not going to reach for the fish oil caps.
We’ll likely eat a greasy burger, slice of pizza or a bag of chips. Once the body receives enough omega-3s, the craving may go away. Unfortunately, pizza isn’t going to satisfy what the body wants, so we’re going to continue eating fats until its satisfied. This can turn into a huge indulgence, which is never good.
Other times, it may be more complicated. In some cases, that craving may actually be a sign that something is wrong internally, maybe even a health concern. Salt is a great example of that. If you find yourself craving salt or salty food at an unusually high volume, this may signal an electrolyte imbalance. It may also signal adrenal fatigue, which if not addressed can lead to other hormonal imbalances affecting cortisol, DHEA, estrogen, testosterone, the thyroid, melatonin and many others.
One of the functions of the adrenal glands is to assist in mineral balance by secreting aldosterone, a hormone that regulates fluid and electrolyte balance within the body. As adrenal fatigue becomes more severe, aldosterone production decreases, allowing salt to be excreted by the kidneys, contributing to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration.
- By Damian D. Dube