Why do we eat what we eat?
Well, yes and no.
Research from many and varied research teams keep turning up the same results: a healthy diet equals a healthy brain—essential if you want to learn—and a supple, fit body.
So why do so many young people eat junk food on a regular basis? And…
Why is it so hard to change what we eat?
For a start, our brains are hard-wired for survival. That means the brain has been interpreting food as a ‘good’ thing for thousands of years—which was not a problem back before we started eating vast amounts of processed foods.
Second, when we chew food, the movement of our facial muscles mimics social interaction: we get a feeling that we are safe and calm. The idea that food can be a ‘comfort’ is very real.
Third, our society has a belief that some foods are ‘treats’ and some foods are ‘boring’ or mundane.
For example: if someone says: “Hey, if you can get that basketball through the hoop I’ll give you a carrot,” and then says; “Hey, if you if can get that basketball through the hoop I’ll give you an ice-cream, which one seems more like a ‘reward’?
Yet, who decided that carrots don’t count as treats?
Fourth, a surprising number of people are addicted to sugar—and sugar is in virtually all processed food and is the simple form of the carbohydrates you take in even when you eat ‘good’ carbs such as breads or museli.
There’s another problem with junk food. If you’re mostly filling up on processed food (such as: KFC, Chips, noodles, pasta and bread) you’re probably going to have trouble fitting in the good stuff (such as: oranges, green leafy vegies, carrots, tomatoes, raspberries).
Finally, what we choose to eat is one of our most entrenched habits.
We tend to eat what we have always eaten… sometimes we establish what we ‘like’ when we are quite young and can’t imagine that there is whole (delicious) world of untapped tasty delight out there.
Some people find when they get off sugar that the flavours of fruits and vegetables become more intense and more delicious than they had realised.
However, poor eating habits are reinforced by advertising telling us that processed food is more fun, more delicious, more convenient, cheaper and altogether more sexy than food that actually provides what our bodies and brains need.
Stress, low self-esteem or simply not knowing about good nutrition—or getting your information from unreliable sources—just makes the whole decision-making process even harder.
What does the ‘good stuff’ look like?
At least five servings of (different) vegetables and two pieces of fruit every day.
At least one serve of meat or a vegetarian protein equivalent every day.
Good quality grains—but not too much—such as bread or museli.
At least six glasses of water every day.
Your brain would love to know more, so check out this YouTube clip: