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ibstubro's avatar

Do you believe that fast food is addictive, i.e. can be "an addiction"?

Asked by ibstubro (18717points) June 20th, 2014

From Dictionary.com:
addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. ”

Do you think fast food fits the description, as used in this article?

Where’s the line between bad habit and addiction?

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28 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think it is more of a habit, although I have heard that the formulas for the burgers and sauces are designed to promote cravings.

Mimishu1995's avatar

When a person hate something, they calls it with all the bad names. I guess that article was written by someone who isn’t in favor of fast food.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Most animals and people evolved trying to get enough to eat to stay alive. It’s nature. The fats and salt in fast food are very satisfying to our nature, so we like to eat that stuff and we like a lot of it.

livelaughlove21's avatar

No. Calling overeating or eating fast food an “addiction” is just an excuse people use so they don’t feel as much pressure to stop doing it. Liking something a lot doesn’t make you addicted to it. Craving something doesn’t make you addicted to it.

The word “addiction” is so overused – it’s ridiculous. Hm, maybe we’re addicted to the word “addiction.” Woah.

Strauss's avatar

I think the article speaks as much about the addiction of our culture to convenience as it does to addictive food articles.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I don’t think it’s either. It’s simply human’s weakness of following the pied piper and doing whatever advertisers tell them to do. I don’t go to fast food places other than when I’m traveling I sometimes get a chicken sandwich from the value menu at Wendys. It just amazes me to drive down the boulevard and see real restaurants owned by local people with six or eight cars in the parking lot and then see McDonalds with cars in line for a city block. It’s not for good food and it’s not for inexpensive food. It’s because the masses are stupid.

filmfann's avatar

The term is Junk Food Junkie

Do I believe it is actually an addiction? Only to the point that hunger is something you don’t beat.

Coloma's avatar

Maybe, for some people, but, in my case, it is the “fast” that lures. haha
I try to not eat much fast food, however, typically, what happens is I am very busy, out and about and have missed a meal so at the peak of my starvation I’ll run through a drive through and grab something. I rarely get fries, but will grab a chicken sandwich of some sort usually or, a couple tacos. Some choices are, obviously, better than others.

One item I really like is the Jack in the Box Chicken Fajita Pita sandwich or, good old Taco Bell. I don’t get burgers often.

zenvelo's avatar

There is a big difference between Food Addiction and being a junk food junkie. Food Addiction is using food as a way to separate oneself from uncomfortable emotions.

Junk food eating is related to physical craving for fats, salts and sugars. There are real hormonal changes in the body to crave fats, salt, and sugar in one’s system. This is well known, and is the reason fast food places put so much salt and sugar onto the food they sell. And, it wreaks havoc with your health.

cazzie's avatar

It’s the fat to sugar ratio’s affect on our brain and it has everything to do with a style of addiction. I’ve been studying neuroscience for some papers I’m editing. Please, read this: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/251218.php and this, (which is more to what I’ve been reading.) http://mic.com/articles/28009/the-science-behind-your-likely-addiction-to-junk-food

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Yes of course fast food is addictive.

@cazzie beat me to it, it’s the fats and sugars to which we become addicted.

ibstubro's avatar

I think we’d have to broaden “fast food” to include all pre-prepared foods and meals if it’s the fat to sugar ration that causes addiction.

Is there a difference between fast food and junk food? Fast food and restaurant food?

I find that the traditional definition of “fast food” is no longer valid, as the food is frequently neither fast nor cheap. Both ease (laziness) and advertising are definitely big factors in American attraction to traditional fast food restaurants.

cazzie's avatar

@ibstubro The researchers of the study I read first that really opened my eyes was that they found cheesecake was the most addictive for mice.

Coloma's avatar

*** It’s the most addictive to me as well. haha
Bottom line, as humans evolved, fats, sugars and salt were in scarce supply and now that we have glut of these available we, naturally, crave and gravitate to these substances that were extremely rare for thousands and thousands of years.
Whoever first risked to raid a beehive for honey started it all. lol

Berserker's avatar

People can have addictions to things without any actual addictive components found in the source. But a lot of it, in that case would have to do with habit or whatever emotional/psychological gratification they get from it.
Unless fast food does contain things in it that can create physical dependence. Wouldn’t surprise me.

zenvelo's avatar

@Symbeline It doesn’t cause a physical dependence; it causes cravings. One can go without for a couple days and all the cravings for fats and sugars and salt will go away. And there is no pain or discomfort from abstaining, just a bit of obsession for a Big Mac and Fries.

It’s amazing how the cravings come back. Last year I had gone about 4 months without sugar or simple carbs, but split a small sandwich with a friend. It was the first bread I’d had in 4 months. The next day, after no cravings in the 4 months, I went to the grocery store and was craving all the croissants and cinnamon rolls.

Coloma's avatar

I totally agree with @zenvelo Cravings for fat, sugar and salt fade away pretty quickly once dropped, even to the point of making you not feel well after ingesting them again after a lengthy fast. I know at different times over the years when I have dropped these items, especially fat, that after a few months if I eat something like a burger I instantly get the runs. haha The body becomes used to healthier foods and less food when dieting and a fat laden binge will make you absolutely sick.

I am not in that zone right now, at all. lol

keobooks's avatar

I think people can develop psychological addictions to just about anything. Paul Mason was so desperate to eat his 20k calories a day that he forced his elderly mother to put a second mortgage on her house to pay his huge grocery bills. He behaved like a drug addict to get his food habit.

And don’t just say he had low will power—it takes a lot of work to get and eat 20k calories of food per day. It takes a lot to become almost 1000lb—it’s not simple overeating.

I think many people have simple cravings or may have not have enough willpower to avoid eating a second brownie or whatever, but some people can actually become psychologically addicted to eating to the point where they destroy their bodies with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. Some people are just addicted to food, period. Some people destroy their bodies and their lives due to their addiction to food.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow…didn’t mean to duplicate your post @keobooks, but yeah. That’s bad.

keobooks's avatar

@Dutchess_III JINX.. buy me a coke. (Don’t really.. I hate soft drinks)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Water then!

CWMcCall's avatar

There is much science behind making fast food super tasty with chemical ingredients designed to stimulate your senses that creates a pleasure reaction in the brain. Repeat this process enough times and eating your favorite fast food can indeed develop into an addition in the same way a drug addict, alcoholic, gambler and porn surfers get addicted.

Coloma's avatar

What I don;t get about people that gain hundreds of pounds is HOW the body CAN even GET that big!
At my all time heaviest I gained about 50 lbs. This was eating, probably 3000 calories a day.
I lost it all in about 10 months. How the hell could you even eat 20,000 calories day?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wonder that too!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@CWMcCall I used to eat McDonald’s for breakfast 5 days a week when I was working. For three years, 5 days a week, without fail. When I lost my job I quit eating breakfast at McDonalds. I suffered no ill effects, no cravings, nothing that even remotely resembled some sort of “withdrawal.”

CWMcCall's avatar

@Dutchess_III Take a bow young lady. I never said “everyone” who eats that crap gets addicted to it just like people can responsibly drink booze and watch porn without addictive issues.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think that doing something virtually every day for years will cause an addiction if it can cause an addiction.

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