Written by: Wallace Merriman

The Allure of “Fast Food”
Posted on:Feb 17, 2012

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Why do we love “Fast Food”

We all know that eating a diet comprised primarily of take-out, fast food, is dangerous to our health. Yet, we continue to feed our bodies with high fat, high calorie and low nutrition foods from drive through restaurants and convenience stores as if we didn’t know any better. Why do we persist in refueling our bodies with nutritionally low-grade food products?

Perception has quite a lot to do with choosing fast food as fuel. We think that it is more convenient to pick something up for lunch or on the way home from work that is already prepared. We believe that it is cheaper than making a lunch or dinner from non-processed foods – Who has the time to cook? Add the general dislike of mainstream American culture for cooking and you have the ingredients that make fast food a growth industry.

Habitual behaviors may also play a big role how we make food choices. Eating fatty foods can be viewed as one of many habits that arise as a result of specific neural activity patterns made in the brain. These familiar neuronal pathways make it difficult for people to break habitual patterns of behavior. Many of us are conditioned during childhood with sweet or fatty foods as rewards or treats. The Easter Bunny brings chocolate, we celebrate our birthdays with cake and ice cream, the Christmas season sends us over the edge with pies, cookies, towers of candy, stuffing, heaps of mashed potatoes, etc. Neural pathways develop which equate feeling good with eating foods that are fatty, sweet and high in calories. These routes through the brain can be viewed as ruts in a road. The more we travel down the same path, the deeper the furrows become. We need to fill in these ruts and build new neural pathways for our brains to follow by breaking poor food habits, which includes substituting healthier choices in place of fast food meals. During the last decade neuroscientists have discovered that our brains are capable of creating an endless number of new neural connections through thought patterning.

What should we do about our love of “Fast Food”

Maybe it’s time for some of us to rethink our misconceptions about food and try some new paths on our way to a better life – ones that don’t involve stopping at old haunts on rutted roads.

By The Better Life Experts

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