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Fast Food Addiction is a Misfortune:

Written by: Arushi Neravetla

After school cravings can lead students to stop by at Starbucks with a Grande Size Frappuccino with your secret stash of Halloween candy, while working on math homework to erase your worries about your upcoming math test. In fact, our cravings for such unhealthy foods have been a disturbing discovery by Researchers from University of Michigan, who’ve stated that people addicted to fast food have a huge “dopamine boost” by eating any foods that consist of sugar, salt, and fat. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends signals to the brain that allow you to feel pleasure and satisfaction, where over 30% of food orders are made to curb cravings (Kovachevska).

Specifically, many American kids and adolescents are becoming more addicted to having fast food compared to having a small side of veggies or a typical salad. A news report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has found that many children and adolescents only get 14% of their daily calories from fast food from 2015-2018. The report includes a proportion of Black and Hispanic students who’ve become more close to fast food compared to White students, with ⅓ consumed per day (NBC).

The rise of consumption among children is not unexpected, where researchers speculated that the pandemic also exacerbated the problem. Due to the rise of fast food, obesity rates also became apparent as it offered an estimate of 20% of U.S. children between ages 6 to 11 and 30% of adolescents ages 12 to 19, according to CDC (NBC). Another factor in fast food addiction is also advertising, since reports also reveal about a big ad exposure in preschoolers and students for different fast-food restaurants, stimulating more interest to crave for these foods.

The study of food addiction, according to Ashley Gearhardt, who focuses on food addiction and established the guidelines for the Yale Food Addiction Scale, which demonstrates a series of signs like loss of control, tolerance, and withdrawal. The concern of nutritional standards in school lunches fought by Michelle Obama stated that children need nutritious food to avoid the addiction of fast food and have restrictive limitations (Gray). Research suggests that the relationship between food and students is similar to the traditional addiction to alcohol or drugs. When an addicition, the more problems it will set up as children transition into adulthood. The best way to keep kids healthy is eliminate the option of junk food by introducing presentations about healthy foods or even providing access to encourage healthy foods.

Can you still have cravings and have a pizza with Diet Coke once in a while? Of course! However, change your cravings to a delicious salad with ice water, and change your mind to keep you healthy and fresh for the prime of your life.


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