Junk food is a major cause of obesity. But did you realise it’s also linked to increased stress levels and poor sleep? Our cravings for comfort foods are often driven by the very factors which can influence unhealthy eating habits in the first place.
Here are five reasons why busy professionals may opt for junk food:
- They struggle to find time to make healthy meals
- They think junk food is healthy
- Temptation and cravings
- Stress and lack of sleep
- Lack of energy to cook after a long day at work
They struggle to find time to make healthy meals
After a tiring day, the kitchen can be the last place we want to be when hunger strikes. By planning ahead, this allows you to have meals ready for the next few days and saves on time.
Imagine coming home from work. You open the fridge door and reheat the meal you made the day before. Within minutes, you’re at the dining table eating a hearty, nutritious meal.
They think junk food is healthy
The truth is, junk food is often high in fat, sugar and salt. This can lead to weight gain and other health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease.
If something tastes delicious but isn’t good for you, then why would anyone want to eat it?
There are chemicals in our brain that make us crave those foods–even when we know they’re bad for us! Junk food also contains additives and addictive chemicals which trick our brains into thinking we need to eat more for energy.
According to one study of working adults who ate out five days per week (or more), 40% admitted that they didn’t know how much salt was in their food–and another 34% didn’t know what kind of fat it contained. In other words, if you don’t know how much salt or fat is in your meal before ordering it from a restaurant menu or drive-thru, it’s difficult to make an informed decision about whether or not it’s good for your health.
Temptation and cravings
When you’re busy, it can be easy to turn to junk food as a quick-fix to satisfy our hunger and keep our energy levels up–but the truth is that there are plenty of ways to eat healthy without sacrificing taste or convenience.
Stress and lack of sleep
Stress and lack of sleep can trigger cravings for junk food. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that stress increases hunger, which leads to overeating and weight gain.
Research from the National Sleep Foundation also showed that sleep deprivation can make you crave high-carbohydrate foods (like pasta or pizza) because they provide quick energy boosts.
Lack of energy to cook after a long day at work
After a long day, cooking is probably the last thing on your mind. Planning ahead and meal prepping can save both time and effort. Bulk cooking is also beneficial as it means you don’t need to think about cooking for the next few days. Plus, you can freeze portions for another day!
I hope these reasons have helped to explain why busy professionals may opt for junk food. If you can relate to one or more of these reasons, you’re not alone. I’ve got an excellent solution for how to eat healthier and cut back on junk food cravings in my next post–so stay tuned!