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  • Writer's pictureAngelo Corbelli

Breaking Free: The Fast Food Addiction

It's probably fair to say that many of us have relished a satisfying McDonald's meal at some point—perhaps after a lively night out or on one of those long days when the thought of cooking was utterly unappealing. Indeed, it's hard to deny the allure of fast food; its flavors can be irresistibly good. But, is there a hidden cost to the convenience and the seemingly unbeatable prices?



Fast Food


While these meals might temporarily satisfy our cravings and tantalize our taste buds, they come with significant long-term health repercussions. In my view, these foods are akin to a modern-day narcotic, increasingly ensnaring us in addiction and disrupting our natural hunger cues.




EMPTY CALORIES


The impact we're talking about isn't exclusive to fast food chains. It extends to the aisles of our local grocery stores, where snacks like Oreos, chips, cereal and a myriad of other tempting treats line the shelves, which were all engineered for monetary gain.


Despite their undeniable appeal—beloved by children and adults alike—these snacks share the same problematic attributes as fast foods, making them less than ideal choices for our health. The majority of these fast foods and snacks are filled with calories, setting the stage for weight gain, which in turn escalates the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.


Now, I'm not suggesting that indulging in an Oreo spells immediate doom. Instead, my aim is to peel back the layers on why these foods taste so irresistible. It boils down to their ingredients, which are meticulously combined through scientific methods to ensure they not only tantalize your taste buds but also activate your brain in a way that leaves you yearning for more. This mechanism mirrors the effect of addictive drugs, tapping into our old prehistoric brain's cravings and leaving us coming back for more.





MANIPULATION AT ITS BEST


The manipulation of addiction science has been a business strategy for decades. From the early days of cigarette marketing to the present, incorporating addictive elements into products has been a key tactic for ensuring consumer loyalty, regardless of the product's nature.


Unfortunately, the ambition of some CEOs to increase profits has led to increasingly unethical practices, putting public health at risk for the sake of their bottom lines. Unlike cigarettes, which have age restrictions, fast foods, snacks, and even sugary cereals are easily accessible to children, making them particularly vulnerable.


An article from the National Library of Medicine sheds light on this issue, stating, "Certain foods, especially those high in sugars and fats, act as powerful rewards [23], encouraging consumption even when there's no energy need and creating conditioned responses between the stimulus and the reward."


In essence, these foods are designed to be addictive, transcending mere hunger. These "hyperpalatable" foods, a term that refers to their engineered appeal, are deliberately created to stimulate the brain in ways that even surpass our understanding. This human invention, designed with profit in mind, effectively endangers lives. It's a stark reminder of the lengths to which some will go to exploit our natural inclinations for their gain.





BEYOND THE LIMITS

Indeed, the mention of heart diseases might conjure up the worst scenarios, but the underlying issue is subtler and equally dangerous. If we're not fully conscious of what we're putting into our bodies, these foods, much like addictive drugs, begin to dominate our eating habits. They can compel us to consume more than necessary, undermining our health without our immediate realization.


Hunger is meant to be a natural mechanism signaling the need for energy—in the form of calories. However, the problem with these hyperpalatable foods is they trick our bodies into believing we need more calories, even when we're already sufficiently fueled. They're so packed with calories that, in truth, our bodies don't require the extra intake. Yet, they manipulate our brains into thinking otherwise.


It's as if there's never enough.


These foods create a relentless craving for more, pushing us to eat beyond our limits. This distortion of our hunger cues is alarming. A disrupted appetite regulation system leads to serious health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and various metabolic disorders. These conditions trap us in a vicious cycle that makes regaining control over our diet—and, by extension, our health—increasingly challenging.





CONCLUDING TIPS


I recognize that suggesting an outright ban on these addictive foods might seem unrealistic. After all, for some, breaking free from their grip might take just a day, but for others, it could be a longer journey. So, let's explore some actionable steps we can incorporate into our daily lives to reclaim our dietary autonomy:


Acknowledge the reality. These foods are designed to hook you for profit. Recognizing this can empower you to resist their lure.


Make a conscious effort not to stock up on tempting snacks. Shopping for groceries on a full stomach can help you make healthier choices, avoiding impulse buys. Just as you wouldn't leave drugs within an addict's reach, the same logic applies to these addictive foods.


Embrace the joy of cooking. Learning to prepare your meals can be a rewarding experience that also ensures you know exactly what you're eating.


Consider the long-term consequences. The thought of suffering from preventable diseases or exposing your loved ones to the same risks can be a powerful motivator.


Think about the financial savings from ditching expensive, unhealthy options.





Understanding and being mindful of what we consume is paramount. Our time here is fleeting, and it's up to us to make the most of it. While the challenge may vary from person to person, staying informed about the hidden dangers of these foods is crucial. Let's strive to keep ourselves and our families as healthy and happy as possible, without the shadow of health concerns looming over us.



THANK YOU FOR READING !


Keep your momentum going by doing one or more of the following:


1. 📣 Spread the word by sharing this post with your network or a friend. Sharing not only helps the spread of valuable information but also showcases your expertise and keeps your connections well-informed.


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Welcome to the blog, Angelo Corbelli is a Mechanical Engineering student at FIU with a passion for the aerospace industry as well as health and fitness.

Feel free to check out the rest of my website, where you can find an extensive collection of the projects I've had the opportunity to work on. You'll also discover a variety of images that provide visual insights into these projects.

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