This is Why You Crave Unhealthy Processed Food

Do you crave unhealthy processed food and wish you could stop eating it?

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. For many of us, the problem starts early and continues throughout life. In this article, you’ll learn the reasons for craving junk food so that you can start breaking the cycle and promoting health.

When I was growing up, I had a craving for sweet sugary cereal. I was hooked on Cap’N Crunch. I couldn’t get enough of those little yellow squares of refined corn and oats coated with sugar. I regularly sat at the kitchen table gobbling down two or three bowls at a time. I always wanted more. The only time I ate one bowl was when the box was empty.

As it turns out, Cap’N Crunch was designed to trigger people to eat it again and again. When the cereal was introduced in 1963, flavorist Pam Low invented the cereal’s special coating, based on her grandmother’s recipe of brown sugar and butter served over rice. Ms. Low described the flavor coating as giving the cereal a special quality that she called “want-more-ishness”. That was exactly what the manufacturer was looking for. [Ref  1]

The problem with sugary cereals is they are highly processed foods. Researchers have shown that highly processed foods are linked to addictive eating habits. [Ref 2]

We crave and overeat processed foods because they generally contain large amounts of sugar, fat, or salt. We also crave them because they are hyper-concentrated.

Processed (hyper-concentrated) food lacks fiber so they are smaller than whole foods. This means that you get excessive calories and excessive flavor in every spoonful.  Therefore, you can easily consume a lot of calories without feeling satisfied or full. Excessively pleasurable flavor also makes them addictive. For all of these reasons, processed junk food increases the likelihood of overeating and weight gain.

The good news is that you can bring cravings back under your control. It starts with choosing more fresh, whole nutritious foods. This gives you the opportunity to reset your taste buds and your brain, and overcome most food cravings. 

Once you learn to balance your blood sugar other problems fall into place. You may be a good fit for the step-by-step online course, Optimal Health Reset. Learn how to create eating and lifestyle habits that help you naturally maintain healthy blood sugar levels. With a healthy lifestyle, you’ll be healing yourself. The next step is to book the Free Discovery Call to see if the course is right for you. It’s time to get the empowering information you need so that you get started with your healthier lifestyle.


Ref 1.  Meet the Mother of Cap’n Crunch. University of New Hampshire Online Magazine. Accessed June 19, 2019.
Ref 2. Highly processed foods linked to addictive eating. Michigan News University of Michigan website. Accessed June 19, 2019..
By |2020-06-29T03:42:34-05:00June 24th, 2019|General|2 Comments

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About the Author:

Dr. Carla Hightower, MD, MBA is a certified integrative health coach, speaker, and corporate wellness consultant. She helps busy people develop healthier lifestyle habits and use plant-based nutrition so they can heal themselves. She provides educational information through her health coaching services and an online course on diabetes. In addition she is an engaging speaker on the subject of plant-based food and healthy lifestyle habits that improve health, energy and productivity. In her prior career she practiced anesthesiology for 21 years. In the midst of that career she overcame personal health challenges by adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Also, she observed that most of her patients were suffering from preventable complications of chronic lifestyle diseases. From those experiences she is motivated to teach people how to take full control of their health through better eating and lifestyle habits.


  1. Harry Wilkins June 24, 2019 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Great story. I was particularly struck by the comment as you described Ms. Low describing the flavor coating as giving the ceral a special qualiy that she called “want-more-ishness”. I have been there.

    • Carla Hightower, MD June 24, 2019 at 12:03 pm - Reply

      Thank you for sharing this. It’s amazing and explains the feeling of not getting enough. Now we know that’s part of the design. However, you have proven that you are able to take back control.

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