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 goes 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 they 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. We think the calories have magically floated away.
 
Or boosting flavor just short of what's called, "sensory specific satiety."  It is 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 (105)
  • daytonb-3-bar
    10/15/2015 - 09:46 p.m.

    It takes time and money for research and development because the food is so unnatural they have to figure out ways to chemically make the food desirable. However once they have the finished product they can reproduce it cheaply and easily. I think this is gross however i now understand from the article on why i crave these unnatural treats.

  • lucasd-3-bar
    10/15/2015 - 09:49 p.m.

    It takes a lot of time and money because you need to make it addictive
    and taste delicious so people will want to buy more. This was interesting, and I love junk food too!

  • jacks-6-bar
    10/15/2015 - 09:50 p.m.

    The food, once in stores, sells fast and is cheap. But too make junk food or fast food, it takes lots of time to work out a way to find how to make food as favorable as possible. It's expensive, because these foods are usually made in labs, and it highly consists of products that are in demand; sugar, salt, etc. However, they get the money because so many people buy junk food. I thought the article was informative and helpful to me personally; I never knew why fast food was so tasty to all...

  • ahnad-orv
    10/15/2015 - 09:54 p.m.

    I never know that there were tricks so people would just keep eating junk food. The fact it is so cheap does draw people towards it. If you had a bag of apples next to a bag of chips and they the same price What would you pick? I beet most people would go for the chips with out even hesitating.

  • josepht-2-bar
    10/15/2015 - 10:51 p.m.

    It takes a lot of time for the fast food company to find out what the food should be like to make you want more of it. And find a way of making it cheep and not filling so you will eat more of it. I am interested that they would make people have problems just to gain money.

  • justiny-2-bar
    10/15/2015 - 11:53 p.m.

    It takes a lot of time and money to design it because it has to have certain amounts of tasteful ingredients to make us want to have more. I found it interesting that it takes a lot of money to make cheap junk food.

  • seans-2-bar
    10/16/2015 - 12:07 a.m.

    Marketing and the sales department Rely on many ideas and solutions for people to buy their food. This article was interesting in the context of why we like junk food.

  • aidanp-1-bar
    10/16/2015 - 12:22 a.m.

    It takes a lot of time and money because there are so many different techniques that are put into food that keeps you eating.

  • matthewp-6-bar
    10/16/2015 - 12:24 a.m.

    It takes a lot of time and money to design fast food because scientist have to make sure they put the correct ingredients in to make us wanting more of the food.Also they have to make sure that their isn't to much flavor or else the brain won't want anymore of the food.This article is interesting to me because people eat junk food even though they know it is very bad for you.

  • noahf-3-bar
    10/16/2015 - 12:59 a.m.

    It takes a lot of time to design fast food when the food itself is so fast and cheap due to the fact its goal is to make it cheap, convenient and make you want more. I found this article interesting because I never knew so much thought and effort went into the design of fast food.

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