Fast Food Addiction Essay

What is Food Addiction?

A few decades ago, the very mention of ‘food addiction’ would raise eyebrows and invite the ire of fitness enthusiasts, comedians, celebrities and most health experts. That isn’t so any more. Unfortunately, most people are still blissfully ignorant about the reality of food addiction and those who do not have an eating problem tend to ridicule the notion of food addiction because of their ignorance.

Junk food and fast food addiction is a growing cause for concern and it’s a crisis that cannot be addressed until we recognize and acknowledge the problem, just as we would in order to overcome addiction to an illegal drug like heroin or cocaine.


For those who have tried desperately to cut back on their junk food intake, making resolutions to resist the temptation only to succumb a few hours later, this may offer some explanation. That this behavior closely resembles the behavior of smokers who wish to quit should tell you something. As with cigarettes, alcohol and many other substances, not all people are affected in the same manner, which is why there are many who are fortunate enough to not develop an addiction. Nevertheless, in many cases of obesity and food addiction, it would be wrong to accuse the person of having a lack of willpower, as the situation can be a lot more complicated.

Studies clearly reveal that processed foods and junk foods trigger certain neural responses just as addictive drugs do and the patterns of behavior in persons addicted to junk food clearly resembles behavioral patterns in cocaine addicts. Additives and other ingredients in processed foods and junk food, including sugar trigger neural responses that result in the release of dopamine. This increase in dopamine levels is tied to almost all types of drug addiction.

While this in no way means that you shouldn’t try to resist that urge to grab a burger or taco, it means that you shouldn’t berate yourself for your failure; simply dust the crumbs off each time you succumb, strengthen your resolve and try again.

Food Addiction among YouthFood addiction in youth is a major cause for concern because it’s a problem that is contributing to the growing obesity epidemic and it greatly increases the risk of lifestyle diseases in young adults and the workforce of tomorrow. Teenagers are a lot more prone to risk taking behavior and addiction, which is why so many teenagers succumb to drug addiction and also find it a lot harder to break out of.

Like cocaine, certain foods trigger a reward system and the connection between habit formation and rewards is much greater in adolescents. In other words, teenagers are a lot more likely to get hooked onto not just drugs, but junk food and processed foods because of its effect on reward centers in the brain.

What Kind of Food are the Youth Addicted to?Almost all processed foods, including junk foods and fast foods, contain chemicals and additives that make them addictive. The human body is not adapted to the consumption of sugar rich, salty and high fat foods

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“Future historians, I hope, will consider the American fast food industry a relic of the twentieth century--a set of attitudes, systems, and beliefs that emerged from postwar southern California, that embodied its limitless faith in technology, that quickly spread across the globe, flourished briefly, and then receded, once its true costs became clear...”
-- Eric Schlosser -- Fast Food Nation Is fast food worth the trouble it may cause you? Obesity is a growing problem and it is taking a toll on kids’ health due to eating too much fast food. But who is to blame for the fattening of our country?…show more content…

Their reactions turned into: “So after one fast food meal you are basically done for the day.” After the children were informed about how unhealthy fast food really was, they were able to then make educated decisions about what to eat for their meals. These wise words were said in his article:

Those places are American icons. Do you know what an icon is? It’s a symbol of our popular culture, like the circus. So it makes sense that you still want to go to a fast-food outlet once in a while. Enjoy the sizzle and slickness. But you don’t want to make yourself sick. Be careful when choosing fast food. Understand what you’re eating. (Rod Baird)
Our economy heavily relies on fast food every day. “Many critics blame businesses like McDonald’s for public health concerns, contending that fast-food menus and portion sizes contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a variety of other diet-related problems” (Adams). Concluded from the children’s research, fast food isn’t healthy. Just because the food isn’t healthy doesn’t mean we should not eat it at all, but we should rather wean off of it to stay healthy. “Critics opposed to such litigation argue that dietary practices are a matter of individual choice and personal responsibility” (Adams). It is our choice whether or not to pack a lunch, but it is the responsibility of the parents to help their children learn a healthy diet. From field research, the

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