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lukiarobecheck's avatar

Are cravings for junk food a product of the mind or stomach?

Asked by lukiarobecheck (1526points) October 22nd, 2011

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18 Answers

lukiarobecheck's avatar

I’ll get the ball rolling. The thought came to mind when I really wanted some Whataburger today, and really this whole week. But, I have refrained from doing so, because I am trying to eat more healthy. Then I started to wonder where these cravings for Whataburger were coming from. I tend to think that all eating affairs are mental. The body does not care what or where the sustenance comes from. And to that I may have just answered my personal question. However, I still want to hear what others think about it. Obesity is a national problem, and something I think is worth taking a look at.

Prosb's avatar

All desire for any specific food comes from your brain. All our stomachs know is general hunger.

lukiarobecheck's avatar

@Prosb…Would you classify obesity and overeating a mental health issue? And maybe this is all common knowledge already. Just curious.

Prosb's avatar

Overeating I believe is almost entirely mental. Obesity however, while often mental, can have strong physical factors that cause it, or cause it more easily in combination with a mental health issue.

njnyjobs's avatar

cravings for junk food is a product of Advertising/promotion, it plants the idea in your brain that you will find enjoyment is consuming the product. Without knowledge of the product, a person would never know to crave that product. So for your question, it is the mind rather than the stomach.

zenvelo's avatar

Depending on your regular diet, your body may crave certain things:fats, sugars and carbohydrates, proteins. How the physical craving manifests it to you is in your brain, based on what you’ve eaten before.

BeccaBoo's avatar

Hmmm…have to say, when it gets cold I reach for the carbs and foods that will keep me padded and warm over the cold season ;-)

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

The combination of sugar, salt, and fat, has been shown to create a dopamine spike in the brain, similar to drugs like heroin and tobacco, which is why obese people are typically hooked on these kinds of foods. source
It is also a good explanation for why a lot people who quit smoking or doing drugs typically start eating a lot or gaining weight. Substituting one dopamine rush for the next.

There Was actually a lawsuit against McDonalds a while back alleging that they knowingly used addictive ingredients to make people addicted to their food. The addictive ingredients were sugar, salt, and fat. The lawsuit was dismissed.

Londongirl's avatar

Like SquirrelEStuff said above on dopamine in brain may do the trick.

I think it is from the brain… may be a scientist can give you more precise answer.

But say this morning, I was craving for McDonald’s egg muffins and pancakes for breakfast, and I cannot resist it, at the end I had 2 breakfasts!!!!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

The brain. I know when mine is feeling masochistic because it asks for Taco Bell.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Both the brain in your head & the brain in your GI control your cravings, IMO.

fizzbanger's avatar

I don’t know, but ooh, Snickers.

lillycoyote's avatar

@lukiarobecheck Whataburgers? You must be in Texas, yes?

creative1's avatar

Companies who make junk food know that there is an addictive quality to sugar so the makers of companies like McDonalds add sugar to everything they possibly can. In cases like the hamburger it will be in the bun, they also spray the lettuce in their salads with sugar water, sugar is also in their french fries. What sugar does is release a hormone that gives you the sense of happiness and satisfaction. However your body then will crave this the more you eat it and unfortunately it is not good for you with all the fat and calories in their food. It takes a while withdraw from these cravings when trying to refrain from this type of food but you can do it. Because giving into one burger will keep you coming back for more and more.

wilma's avatar

I have that sugar addiction, any ideas on kicking the habit? I am a junkie.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@wilma sounds like a good question for Fluther ;) Actually, my tip would be to cut it all out for at least one week. After a week, your cravings for it should subside. (from my personal experience).

Mariah's avatar

Food cravings have nothing whatsoever to do with your stomach. Even the sensation of general hunger is not a result of an empty stomach; it is the result of a need for nutrients. I know because I spent 2 months with a completely empty stomach, but was not hungry because I was receiving nutrition intravenously.

SmartAZ's avatar

A craving for sweets is a symptom of not eating enough protein. Hunger can be reduced a lot by eating more fiber, especially whole wheat products. I got so fond of bran muffins that I bought fifty pounds of bran just to be sure I had plenty.

Figure out how much fat you want per day and get it all for the first meal. Fat slows digestion so you have a steady supply of energy all day and you don’t get hungry between meals. I keep a lot of peanut butter on hand for when I want a snack. Peanut butter has a remarkable amount of oil in it.

If you want an example of “product of the mind”, go read Daniel chapter 1. If you buy the food described there, you will find yourself wondering “What do I do to eat this stuff?” That is a mind problem!

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