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Home Get smarter News Junk food overload: it is the result of your reptile brain!

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Junk food overload: it is the result of your reptile brain!

Do you recognize it, the sometimes uncontrollable need for a pizza? The appeal of the local snack bar? The, impossible to ignore, smell of a shawarma place? And the instant regret after giving into that fast food call? Good news, you are not alone! As it turns out: we cannot help ourselves! According to recent research it is the reptile inside of us that makes us yearn for fast and unhealthy food.

Survival of the fittest

According to recent research our fast food sensitivity is a heritage from a distant past.  Our most primitive ancestors lived in an age where ‘survival of the fittest’ was part of everyday life. The brain of those living approximately 500 million years ago was thus designed to quickly respond to stimuli. It was, after all, to eat or being eaten: people constantly had be careful. Hence the term reptile brain: that part of the brain that primarily responds to input, even before you are able to make a well-informed choice.

The reason we increasingly consume so much greasy foods and sugars, even though deep down we are definitely aware of how it can affect our body, is therefore the result of our primal urge to survive. Our distant ancestors left us with a supply of fat just in case at some point in time there would be less or no food left. Today our reptile brain still thinks along the same lines even though there is no such thing as a shortage of food anymore.

Dopamine

By feasting on unhealthy snacks our brain starts to produce dopamine. This substance causes us to experience a feeling of pleasure. However, similar to the effects of drugs that urge for fast food will only continue to grow. In the end you will need more and more fast food to experience that same feeling. An uncontrollable urge you can no longer escape starts to emerge. American research from 2012 already demonstrated that there is a large overlap between the response of the dopamine system on, on the one hand, eating a lot of (rich in fat and sugar) ice cream and on the other, drugs and alcohol. Of course, the extent to which this applies varies greatly from person to person.

The solution!

If we, indeed, need more and more fast food it is perhaps a good idea to make the experience around the whole experience of eating a lot more fun. What if we enjoy making our food just as much as eating it? Is that perhaps how we could lessen that urge for pizza or fries? We believe that it is at least worth a try. In addition, cooking is a lot more fun than going to a snack bar or having food delivered to your doorstep. You could, for instance, make an artisanal pizza with the BioLite pizza stone! With a pizza slicer you can easily cut it into slices. And what is more fun than building your own burger over an open flame with the new Petromax burger iron? Okay, we could come up with one or two things. After all, nothing beats making pancakes!