Can Your Body Go Through Withdrawal From Quitting Junk Food?

If you're like most people, you may have tried to quit eating a particular junk food that is doing you no favors. And, if you thought you experienced something similar to withdrawal symptoms, you would not be wrong. In fact, research indicates that your body may go through some serious withdrawal when you decide to ditch junk food (via Healthline).

A 2018 study revealed that withdrawal from junk food is real, and needless to say, tough (via Appetite). Surveying 231 participants, Erica Schulte and her team of experts discovered that withdrawal symptoms from junk food can wreak havoc on your body and mind for a few days. During the first five days of removing the junk food, self-reported symptoms from participants ranged from sadness, fatigue, moodiness, and cravings. Eventually, the symptoms improved, but the evidence showed researchers that withdrawal from junk food is not much different from drug withdrawal (via Healthline). Junk foods that taste yummy are generally high in either sugar, fat, or salt, and they cause the brain to release dopamine, which makes you feel good (via WebMD).

How to cope with junk food withdrawal

Knowing that withdrawal symptoms from highly processed foods are real, how do you learn to cope with them? The first step is to be aware of triggers that cause you to want to eat these feel-good foods. If you tend to eat when you are stressed, angry, bored, or even happy, being mindful of your feelings can help you resist eating when you're not hungry (via Cleveland Clinic).

In addition to identifying your moods, learning to control cravings is helpful when times get tough. Some tips to beat an urge to indulge include distracting yourself, going for a walk, playing a game, or talking to a friend (via Mayo Clinic). Additionally, experts suggest that chewing gum and drinking a full glass of water are also useful techniques. Try substituting something healthy, such as yogurt in place of ice cream. Every once in awhile, it's okay to allow yourself to eat a small portion of junk food, but make sure you eat something healthy beforehand, so you don't binge. Finally, get enough sleep and plenty of exercise because they work together to control the hunger hormone ghrelin.