Consuming high-calorie foods is generally bad for health, is associated with feelings of guilt , and is socially stigmatized as evidence of a lack of self-control . Thus, people generally prefer to avoid high-calorie foods, especially in public , and are even willing to pay more money to eat healthier meals .
But sometimes people do choose a high-calorie diet. When people walk into convenience stores and face salads and burgers, why do they choose to pay for that burger? What made them choose high-calorie foods? Why high-calorie foods appeal to people? What happens when you always choose high-calorie foods that bring happiness?
Have you ever thought about the above questions？
There are many reasons why people choose high-calorie foods. In general, it can be divided into three aspects: psychological and physiological reasons, and the stimulation of the external environment. Such choices can be influenced by the underestimation of the calories in a meal , temptations in the immediate environment , peo- ple’s tendency to exert self-control , and people’s goals. Let’s take a look at the following three reasons why people choose high-calorie foods
1. Economic factors cause people to choose high-calorie foods
The price of certain foods has changed significantly over the past 30 years. The price of healthy food is higher than that of fast food. Lower prices are also a major reason why high-fat foods are frequently selected in the commodity market.
For example, in the United States federal government subsidies for most cereal products such as corn syrup. Because corn syrup is very cheap, food manufacturers are more inclined to add it to more food in order to achieve human’s hard preference for sweets. Foods such as sweet cereals, fries, and biscuits have a longer shelf life and are usually stored in fast food restaurants.
2.Circulating glucose levels modulate neural control of desire for high-calorie foods in humans
The circulating level of glucose (the main source of fuel for the brain) affects areas of the brain that regulate the motivation to consume high-calorie foods.
Mild hypoglycemia preferentially activates limbic-striatal brain regions in response to food cues to produce a greater desire for high-calorie foods. In contrast, euglycemia preferentially activated the medial prefrontal cortex and resulted in less interest in food stimuli. Indeed, higher circulating glucose levels predicted greater medial prefrontal cortex activation, and this response was absent in obese subjects. Circulating glucose modulates neural stimulatory and inhibitory control over food motivation and suggest that this glucose-linked restraining influence is lost in obesity. Strategies that temper postprandial reductions in glucose levels might reduce the risk of overeating, particularly in environments inundated with visual cues of high-calorie foods.
3. Stress factors cause people to choose high-calorie foods
When people are told that the external environment is bad, they are more inclined to consume high-calorie foods。The bad external environment includes not only extreme situations such as war, but also some stressful events that are often encountered in life, such as news about economic issues, the emergence of competitive colleagues, and even things such as adversity or struggle. Words can trigger behaviors related to rapid life history strategies. So this phenomenon may affect us beyond our imagination.
Research on the theory of life history can explain this phenomenon.
The theory of life history
Life history theory describes how resources are allocated to various survival tasks, such as growth and reproduction . According to life history theory, all organisms, including the human body, face fundamental trade-offs when allocating energy and resources between manual labor (the organism’s efforts to develop itself) and fertility .
Personal circumstances determine whether individuals adopt a slow-growing or fast-growing energy distribution strategy. Fast life history strategies can be adapted to harsh environments, such as scarce resources and highly competitive environments . Since the future is uncertain in such an environment, it is possible to evolve fast strategies related to immediate breeding investments instead of long-term gains. At this time people are focusing on ensuring the maximum amount of resources currently available. Therefore, in a harsh environment, the benefits of long-term growth are minimized because people focus on how they currently access and use resources.
Environmental cues can affect behaviors without people’s awareness . Harsh environmental cues make people aware of resource scarcity. Storing calories on your body is a smart choice. People started looking for and eating high-calorie foods. High-calorie foods can last longer than low-calorie foods.
4.Some phenomena about high-calorie food in society
In today’s society, it is easy to increase your calorie intake. The restaurant has plenty of high-fat foods (fried, cream or butter) and sweet drinks. Nowadays, it is easy for a person to consume 1000 calories in a single meal. The last stored fat has little effect on an individual’s appetite, but it can significantly reduce activity levels, leading to a vicious cycle.
5.Obesity after taking too much high-calorie food
Excessive calorie intake is a major factor in obesity. When you eat more calories than you consume, you are likely to cause obesity.
Obesity has become a more and more serious problem in recent decades. In the past 30 years, the percentage of the American popula- tion that is overweight or obese has increased dramatically: 33% are overweight and 34% are obese with 6% of all adults being extremely obese. Surgery on patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 50 was once rare. Today it is not uncommon to perform cesarean sections or other surgical procedures on women with BMIs of 50 to ≥70. This epidemic has dispropor- tionately impacted minorities. Of African American women, 49% are obese, as are 38% of Latinas. Even more alarming: 27% of all children are overweight or obese.
Different obese patients will use different methods to achieve different degrees of success. Comparative diet studies have found that the most important factor in predicting success is patient compliance with diet. 4 Therefore, there is no perfect diet strategy.
Patients should choose a method that emphasizes their favorite foods, which may increase compliance for a longer period of time. As a result, carnivores are more likely to do better when using a high-fat / protein diet (such as Atkins), and herbivores are more likely to do better when using a medium-fat menu.
The diet plan needs to emphasize reducing calorie intake / reducing calorie intake, which is a lifestyle change, not a penalty that must be endured until thinning. Providers need to emphasize the concept of healthy weight, not fashionable weight. Regardless of which diet plan you follow, a 10% weight loss has a positive effect on the complications of hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea.
Just as in early hunting, harvesting, and weight management in a calorie-poor environment, increased physical exercise can also help reduce weight by increasing calorie expenditure. For example, walking 30 minutes a day to help the body adjust and exercise muscles.
6. Countermeasures against obesity after ingesting large amounts of high-fat foods
Government agencies need subsidies to make it easier for people to access and afford healthier foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Some health advocates have advocated taxes on sugared soft drinks and other high-calorie, low-nutrition foods. Commercial organizations publish the calorie content of goods sold.
Finally, the patient’s community needs to support the individual’s decision to lose weight. Many patients are undermined by immediate family members, colleagues and other members of the community. For a person, an obese friend has more influence than the genes of obesity. Community builders need to provide safe places to walk or exercise, support farmers’ markets or grocery stores, and encourage healthy choices consistent with cultural origin.
Medicaments and surgical procedures have been developed that are successful aids in weight loss. However, they are not magic bullets. If the patient has a psychological motivation for overeating, and these motivations cannot be resolved before or through these interventions, the weight will still recover despite the continued use of the intervention, usually at the rate of initial loss.
Dieting and diet pills are not the answer. Prevention is key. The most effective methods remain to improve health and quality of life.