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December 5, 2012 12:06 PM Subscribe
Why do I crave junk food so intensely?
posted by Sara C. to food & drink (31 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Lately I've been getting extremely strong cravings for junk food.
When I say junk, I don't mean like "something that is not low-carb" or "a food that can be unhealthy if eaten to excess". I'm talking about ridiculous things not fit for human consumption, like doritos, or twinkies, or gnarly fast food. Not even worthwhile junk like ice cream or pastries or something deep fried.
These are really strong cravings. Cravings that leave me tempted to get in the car and drive to a place I can get these things. Cravings that make me want to go on Yelp or whatnot and find the nearest McDonald's. (I just moved to this area and, because I generally don't eat fast food, I barely know where to even get it.)
I grew up in a family where we didn't ever have junk like that in the house. As an adult, I might indulge very occasionally, like when the caterers at work made deep fried twinkies that one time, and I'd never had a deep fried twinkie before, so I tried one. Which happened two years ago. As I said, I eat fast food so rarely I couldn't even tell you where the nearest place to get that stuff is.
I don't usually crave things like this, though I will sometimes crave more rational high quality treat foods like artisanal doughnuts or a really good cheeseburger.
The only thing I can think of that has changed in my diet lately is that I'm broker than usual, so I've been eating more processed carb type foods. More meals revolve around iterations of pasta. Tortillas are cheaper than bread in my neighborhood, so it's been taco night a lot lately. But I don't see how "black beans in a corn tortilla" or "noodles with pesto sauce" translates to a strong desire to drive to the nearest Chic Fil A and stuff my face, gay rights be damned. Especially since it's not like I'm transitioning off a low carb or paleo diet -- just eating more oatmeal for breakfast and less eggs.
How can I make it stop? Right now the "junkiest" thing in the house is a jar of peanut butter. I really can't get any healthier with my food choices without going vegan. I also can't really afford to do a high protein diet right now.
Are there affordable foods that are high in the sorts of fats and proteins that might help with satiation? And is that even connected to these freaky cravings for lard and corn syrup?