why do we eat so much fast food

Eating junk food regularly is linked to obesity and chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, but many people still choose junk food sources over their healthy, nutritious whole food counterparts. Junk food is typically cheap, processed and prepackaged, making it easily available, but there are several psychological motivators that predispose people to choosing it as a meal or snack. Busy schedules often diminish the amount of time people have to prepare healthy, nutritious meals, so they opt for faster, easier options. Whole foods such as vegetables and meat take time and kitchen equipment to cook properly, while fast food hamburgers are usually served within minutes of ordering.


Over time, that convenience becomes a habit and eventually a perceived necessity to keep up with such a fast-paced society. Disrupting that routine requires an investment of time, and most people prefer to stick with the faster option. A peripheral result of this fast-paced culture is increased levels of stress and anxiety. Increased stress levels cause the body to expend more energy, stimulating hunger for calorie-dense sustenance and driving people to eat fatty, sugary junk food. High levels of anxiety also cause people to seek out junk food as a means of comfort.


When stressed, people look for ways to calm themselves, and junk food s positive effects on the reward center of the brain make it a comforting go-to choice. There is also evidence to suggest that sleep deprivation motivates people to choose junk foods over healthy foods. When sleep is restricted, the primal reward center of the brain becomes more active while executive functions of the frontal lobes become more suppressed. This effectively diminishes willpower, making people more likely to seek out foods high in fat and sugar, which are logically poor choices that trigger the reward center.


People may also choose junk food simply because they have developed a mild physical dependence on it. Studies show that binge eating foods high in sugar or fat results in neurochemical changes in the brain similar to those that develop in drug addiction. According to a study published in Physiology and Behavior in October 2011, rats that habitually eat foods high in sugar and fat mentally crave more of those substances and experience withdrawal-like symptoms if they do not get access to it. After developing the habit, people may be neurochemically driven to choose junk food.
People eat fast food, because, as the name says, itвs fast!


If you have a busy schedule and donвt have time to prepare your own meal, then you will often opt for fast, convenient food. Just stop by the store, make an order and receive the food 5 minutes later. Cooking your own meal takes a lot of time. You need the time for groceries, which needs planning ahead for the food you want to prepare, then the cooking time. After that, you still need to wash the cutleries and kitchen equipment. Or you can just have someone else do it all for you.


Or even just stock up on pre-frozen food that just needed to be microwaved for a few minutes for a hot meal. That convenient then slowly become a habit over time, some see it as necessary to keep up with the fast moving society. Breaking this routine might be difficult since replacing that fast option is a huge investment of time and skill. Then there is also the misconception that preparing food from scratch is more expensive. That is not true! It is actually cheaper to go home cooked, yes, you do need to do the actual cooking. But you know, it might be worth the healthier meal.