If some foods can make you hungrier than before, than what's the point of dieting? According to a study done in 2012, 52 percent of Americans believed doing their taxes was easier than figuring out how to eat healthy. That makes selecting the nearly 2,000 pounds of food Americans eat each year more of a challenge than a basic chore. In addition to figuring out what to eat, some would argue that figuring out the best times to eat specific items to power yourself throughout the day is a hassle. These days, it seems like there are caveats in place warning of the pitfalls for every food group–even fruit, which we are recommended to eat as many as, but NOT more than, four servings daily. While that is surprising, there are some foods that have been on the list of food no-nos for years. These foods are tasty entering the mouth but they add no nutritional value, and can seriously damage both your waistline and quality of life. Some food has been proven to make you hungrier, completely opposite its intended effect of curbing your hunger pains. That has a lot to do with salt and sugar content, whether naturally occurring or added to a food for enhanced flavor.
One of the most common food types that are guilty of making you hungrier is ever-popular fast food like burgers, fries and pizza, among many delicious others. According to research, at least one in every four people eats some type of fast food every day. That is largely in part due to the convenience factor. As Americans become increasingly busy, they become increasingly dependant on this industry, one valued at $190 billion in 2013. The problem with fast food is that almost everywhere you go, the products come wrapped in a carbohydrate-heavy bun, slathered in grease and have harmful components like trans-fats, which clog arteries and inflammatory the digestive system. In addition, condiments and buns are riddled with high fructose syrup, which causes sugar levels to rise. Not to mention its sodium content, which is sure to far exceed the 1,500 milligram maximum daily intake recommended by the American Heart Association. These medical debates bleed into ones about legislation, as evidenced by the relatively recent push by policymakers to create laws that help Americans be healthier; That’s why New York Health Officials voted to include warning signs on menus on fast food franchises that have more than 15 locations worldwide.
In addition to fast food, Americans have become dependent on in-between snacks whether it’s after school or after work before dinner. That includes salty snacks like chips and pretzels as well as sugary snacks like cakes and candy. This unnecessary food group accounts for the growing $124 billion retail snack industry in North America. Snacking has steadily increased for the past thirty years. Back then, in addition to doing more outdoor activities, one snack a day was customary. However, Americans are doing less heart-healthy activities and snacking has increased to at least three snacks daily adding an additional 200 calories a day. The problem with it is the salt in snacks makes you feel hungrier because it dehydrates you making your body think you are hungry. In reality you are actually thirsty. Sugar, like salt, is one of those things that the more you eat it, the more your body craves it. While it’s especially true in snacks, that is also true for foods with refined sugars like bread and pasta. Those refined sugars make it easier to eat more than the recommended serving size. Also, it has also been shown that with salty or sugary snacks, after eating one, you want the other. So while you may have satisfied your salt craving, your sugar craving has kicked into full swing making you eat double the amount you would have actually eaten.
While it’s crucial to talk about sugar as an additive, some foods naturally produce sugar, like fruit. Nobody would argue that having an apple is better than having apple pie, but fruit should still be eaten with caution. Sugar, regardless if it is naturally occurring, added, or some type of artificial sweetener, it still raises insulin levels. That is crucial in terms of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, a study in 2012 revealed that 29.1 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes while a whopping 8.1 million is still undiagnosed for the one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In addition, a recent study revealed that the sugar in fruit, fructose, that is mostly processed in the liver fails to stimulate hormones like insulin that are important in helping us feel full. It revealed that volunteers who consumed fructose, opposed to glucose which is found in carbohydrates, resulted in greater activity in the brain and a greater desire for more food. This was also true when they were nearly bribed not to give into their sweet tooth temptations. “When the study participants consumed fructose, they had a greater willingness to give up the money to obtain immediate high-calorie foods, compared to when they consumed glucose,” said a professor at the Keck School of Medicine.
Though food is an essential part of life that sustains us each day, it’s important to be mindful about what we add to our diet. In particular, it’s important to be mindful what is added paying close attention to salt and sugar content. Not only does salt and sugar damage your body from the inside out causing life-long health issues like high-blood pressure and diabetes but they make you hungrier putting you at greater health risks. Not to mention, it adds to your caloric daily intake, which can in turn put you on a fast-track to obesity. It’s a national epidemic accounting for one in every third adult being considered obese, which is more than 6% of the national population. Like anything, snacks, foods made with refined sugar, and fast food items should be eaten in moderation. They are created as temporary fixes for a permanent issue, which is hunger. Also, keep in mind that the more that you eat said food, the more your body is going to crave them so be sure to switch it up every once in a while. For every sugary product whether that’s a beverage or food, eat a vegetable and drink water. That way, your body is not only getting what it needs to properly function, but you are also getting what you’re body is craving. It’s just not in excess.