Why do we love junk food? (Thinkstock)
Why do we love junk food?
Lexile

You asked us, "Why do we love junk food?"
 
A lot of money, strategy and effort go into designing junk food.
 
The goal is to make it cheap, convenient, and -- despite having little to no nutritional value -- to keep you wanting more.
 
It's typically high in things like salt, sugar and fat, which trigger pleasure centers in our brains, making us feel oh-so-yummy-good and encouraging us to keep eating.
 
See, our brains are relatively big and require a lot of energy to do their thing. So we evolved to love high-energy food.
 
Beyond the super high calorie count, junk food makers have a million tricks up their sleeves when it comes to making their products irresistible.
 
Like the melt-in-your-mouth quality that tricks us into thinking the calories have magically floated away.
 
Or boosting flavor just short of what's called, "sensory specific satiety" -- flavor that's so big, it overwhelms your brain and you end up not wanting anymore.
 
So despite knowing it's not good for us -- eating it is linked with things like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer -- junk food can be really hard to resist.
 
Food for thought, for sure.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why does it take a lot of time and money to design fast food, when the food itself is fast and cheap?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (31)
  • benjaminc-day
    10/15/2015 - 12:24 p.m.

    Junk food is a favorite among kids and teens and is one of the major reasons for heart disease and obesity in today's world. Companies are getting better at making junk food that is more addictive and even less healthy. I saw something online that said Oreo's can be just as addictive as cocaine! This is alarming because kids will always be drawn to foods like this and with the combination of bad diet and less exercise because of the internet, we could see obesity rates start to get even worse. I wonder why if food companies can make junk food taste good and become addictive why they can't make healthy foods addictive to kids and teens. I think companies should make fast and junk food more expensive to deter people from it and start getting people to eat right even though it seems like a very stupid idea.

  • baylees-day
    10/15/2015 - 09:17 p.m.

    Everything in moderation, I guess. It's not a secret junk food is bad for you, but like the article says it tastes really good. So to prevent the extremes, people just need to enjoy a little junk food every now and then, as long as they are getting their daily balanced nutrient.

  • thomasm-day
    10/16/2015 - 09:03 a.m.

    Junk food is one of the main causes of obesity in our country today. Junk food is very good to eat don't get me wrong, I love every second of that delicious and succulent goodness. Junk food is just the gateway to dying before you are just turning forty. All we need to do as a society is cut down on junk food and get fit together.

  • derekh-day
    10/16/2015 - 11:32 a.m.

    I've always been able to stay away from junk food. My problem has always been eating more healthy foods as opposed to saying "no" to junk foods. To me the taste has never compensated for the awful feeling of "I shouldn't have eaten that" after eating it. I don't see how what this crap can do to you doesn't steer people away from eating junk foods.

  • jordynd-day
    10/17/2015 - 07:52 a.m.

    In the article it said that the creators of junk food have a lot of tricks to make it seem like the calories don't exist. Since they make it seem that way, that might be the reason why they take so long to create different junk foods. I hate the feeling of eating junk food but it tastes so good. I always regret it after I eat something unhealthy.

  • erine-bag
    10/19/2015 - 10:47 p.m.

    I am not sure I understand the question but I can try. I think that junk food should be not be considered as bad as drugs or cigarettes or stuff like that. I mean it is pretty convenient and you can avoid diabetes obesity and cancer if you don't take to much and stay active for example make sure the ratio of healthy food to junk food in you diet is 10000000000000:10. That would be a healthy diet

  • laurend-day
    10/20/2015 - 07:26 a.m.

    I constantly tell myself that im going to eat healthier. Yesterday I thought to myself that over the past few days I've ate nothing but junk food! According to the artice, apparently these foods that are high in salt, sugar, and fat trigger our brain to keep wanting to eat more. Plus, these junk foods are so much cheaper than organic goods. No wonder it's so hard to get away from the junk when it appears to be way more appealing in taste, and in price!

  • laurenc-bag
    10/20/2015 - 05:47 p.m.

    It takes a lot of time and money because the companies that make the candy or junk food want to make sure that people are going to be buying more so they want to take the time and effort to make sure that their customers like their product.

  • laurenc-bag
    10/20/2015 - 05:51 p.m.

    I think that junk food shouldn't be held back like cigarettes and alcohol are because people make their own choices on whether or not to treat their bodies with respect, and I think that we as Americans should be able to make her own choices.

  • abrei-wim
    10/21/2015 - 02:06 p.m.

    Companies shouldn't spend money on tricking people to eat more with sugars, fats, and salt. If all of these things are hurting people through obesity and diabetes then why do you continue to spend money to make these foods. This should be some sort of a law, only allowed to make a certain amount of junk food. What I think the law should be: You should only be allowed to make and sell enough junk food for let's say a week to eat per month.

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