“A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” That old saying from Grandma isn’t totally unfound when it comes to junk food. Processed, sugary and over-caffeinated foods are the bee’s knees for junk food lovers but the truth is, they actually make our minds and bodies feel like, well, junk. So what happens when we decide to give junk food the boot from our diets?
The Initial Reaction
If you’re prone to eating junk food, you’ve probably had a parent, friend or physician suggest cutting junk food out of your diet. Quitting junk food cold turkey is tough and for good reason. A 2018 study published in Appetite science journal suggests quitting junk food can cause withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced when quitting tobacco or addictive substances. You may suffer increased irritability and fatigue, as well as headaches for those giving up sugar and/or caffeine. But these symptoms typically last only a few days to a week at best.
Your Gut Reaction
Your GI tract, better known as your gut, may appear a bit unhappy about the changes to your diet. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to return to pizza and ding dongs just because you experience bloating or a few loose stools. These symptoms are temporary and soon your gut will be thanking you for your healthier food choices.
Your Taste Buds
Taste buds can take up to fifteen days to regenerate and adjust to your new food options. During this time, your body will develop a “taste” for the healthier food choices you’ve been making and soon you may find that your former favorite foods are too salty or sweet.
Your Waistline and Muscles
Perhaps the most popular appeal of cutting out junk food is what it does for your waistline and muscle tone. Most people experience weight loss when they cut out unnecessary sugar and fats from their diet. Eating healthier, nutrient-filled foods also improves muscle tone. Who doesn’t want that?
Your Mental and Physical Health
Cutting out junk food is not the cure-all for every mental illness or physical ailment, but eating a healthy diet can improve your mood, focus, and cholesterol levels in a significant way. It can also lower your risk of developing serious conditions like heart disease or type 2 diabetes. You’ll also feel more energetic, which will likely encourage you to be more physically active which is as vital to your health as what you eat.
The hardest part of quitting junk food cold turkey is the first week. But be encouraged! It’s only a week. Don’t think you could survive a week of feeling blah? A week or so from now, you’ll remember reading this article and you’ll also remember that if you had started your new healthier eating journey back then, you’d be past the hardest phase by now and on to a better lifestyle. Now, get offline and start tossing all those sugary, salty foods in the trash. You’ll thank us in a week.