If you’ve ever gone on a diet, you know that eating junk food is a huge no-no. The idea of eating potato chips alongside your kale or oatmeal sounds ludicrous. However, a small to moderate amount of junk food may actually help dieters lose weight, as counterintuitive as it sounds.
While dieting, many of us don’t eat enough calories or macronutrients to keep our bodies going. Without enough fat, protein, and carbohydrates, the human body will panic and hold onto weight, thinking it’s starving. This is not ideal for a lot of reasons, the chief one being that diet and exercise are hard! You should achieve some results with that hard work. By eating the occasional junk food, you may get some much-needed fat, carbohydrates, or salt that you might be deficient on after weeks of lettuce.
Fat also plays a critical role in satiation, meaning it’s responsible for making you feel full and content. Although many people avoid fat while few can actually lead to them caving and stuffing themselves on way more junk food than they would have consumed if they’d used moderation to eat some before they got too hungry! Factor in a few your calories for the occasional treat, and you’ll be more likely to keep your diet on track for the long haul.
Avoid additives like monosodium glutamate, which can make you feel more hungry. And besides, you’ll feel more satisfied if you splurge a little financially, too. Spend a few more dollars on the treat with fewer chemicals and preservatives, and you’ll be more satisfied physically and mentally. Consider buying fancy kettle chips instead of the cheap gas station ones, or buy a slice of cake from a posh bakery instead of eating a box of pre-packaged snack cakes.
There’s also a good psychological reason to eat junk food on occasion, whether you go for the most chemical-filled foods or not. Diets are temporary, and most people who lose weight gain it all back within five years. Lifestyle changes, however, can be sustained for a much longer period of time. If you generally eat healthily but occasionally have junk food, you’ll still make progress and have a healthier life. It’s not uncommon for active, healthy people to eat a structured routine during the week and then indulge one or two days on the weekend!
So if you’re trying to lose weight, stop thinking of junk food as the enemy. You don’t want to pig out on it every single day, but junk food can be your friend. Use moderation, just like anything, and that fun size candy bar just might be the thing that keeps you from eating everything in the refrigerator after a rough day.