Over the festive period I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of delicious junk food.
I know I have. Strolling home from the pub after a shedful and realising the nearest takeaway is still open for another hour before ordering a 16 inch pizza with everything on it and falling asleep after three slices.
While in moderation everything is great, junk food can become an addiction and one that is just as destructive as alcohol or drugs, according to Elite Daily.
Doctors and scientists have long used a specific criteria, known as DSM-IV, to determine whether a substance is addictive or not.
Although the criteria is typically used to identify drink or drug related addictions, it is just as fitting when it comes to junk food.
Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you’re away from junk food than longer than usual? This could be a sign that you’re addicted.
Do you find yourself eating more and more junk food in an attempt to get the same satisfaction you used to get from eating less? This is because the brain develops a tolerance to the rewarding effects of junk food meaning you need to eat more to trigger the same dopamine release.
Continued use despite harm
Unhealthy food indirectly kills millions and millions of people every single year nevermind the obesity crisis it’s playing a gargantuan factor in. Yet still, despite this shocking and common knowledge – fast food joints across the world will be rammed packed even now as people wait anxiously for their burgers.
If you’re teetering on the fringes of obesity yet still constantly hungry for some junk food then you could be an addict…
Loss of control
Do you feel powerless when it comes to junk food? Do you tell yourself you’re not going to eat it because you need to lose weight et cetera but still end up giving into your cravings and ordering a takeaway anyway?
Attempt to cut down
How often have you told yourself you’re going to cut down on bad food? And how often have you ended up surrendering after just a matter of days or weeks?
Salience is when you spend A LOT of time thinking of a certain thing, in this instance – junk food. Do you find yourself spending a significant amount of your day lusting over that pizza when you get in, or getting yourself psyched up for a large bar of chocolate at dinner time?
Scientists claim that salience is where cravings for food come from as when we crave something it is far harder to get it off the mind. There is an obsessive, compulsive drive to obtain it that is very hard to resist.
Do you ever feel that you’re cutting down on normal activities because you find your need for junk food could lead to embarrassment.
For instance, if you’re invited out for a meal with friends but turn it down as you know you will binge in front of others which would be humiliating.
In conclussion, if three or more of the above descriptions apply to you then according to medical standards you are addicted to junk food.
Even if you feel physically fit and are not over weight if you feel your junk food habbit may be oozing its way towards a problem then give it up. It will be hard but your body will thank you for it.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.