Why is Fast Food Addictive

Why is Fast Food Addictive?

Time factor

Urban life is characterized by ‘busyness’ and trying to keep up with the trends at work often leaves people with little time to cook in their homes. Instead of going through the stressful minutes and hours of cooking, many individuals prefer to get the same food in a public restaurant in less than 5 minutes.


Great taste is another important reason why people opt for fast food every time. Generally, the more effort and ingredients you devote to cooking, the better the taste. Restaurants and fast food places know this fact and have used it to their advantage.


The name fast food comes from the fact that you can order and get your food in a few seconds, and you can easily find them in strategic locations within your vicinity. This convenience makes it easy for people to depend mainly on junk meals.


The attractive packaging of fast food sways people. Most restaurants employ professional chefs who understand how to make food appealing. It is why you see a giant poster of food simmering, and you immediately feel like having a taste.


Advertising plays a significant role in food addiction. In 2020, McDonald invested 654.7 million U.S. dollars for advertising globally. Similarly, other restaurants like Dominos have increased their advertisement budget. That goes to say that advertising plays a huge role in food addiction.

Addictive ingredients

Some ingredients can be addictive by acting on your brain to trigger addiction and overeating. Most restaurants use a highly processed starch derivative called maltodextrin, a substance with addictive properties similar to sugar.

Chemicals in Fast Food That Make It Addictive

There are certain chemical compounds in fast food ingredients that make it taste better but can be addictive. They include:

Sugar, fat, and salt

On the surface, these trios seem harmless but contribute mainly to the additive agents found in fast food and junk. These ingredients are highly processed to form high fructose corn syrup and solid fat, leading to weight gain. What they do is stimulate the pleasurable part of the brain. As you take more of them, your brain adjusts and releases less dopamine.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a flavoring agent. It is a form of concentrated salt used in foods to enhance the flavor of packaged and processed foods. Like maltodextrin, MSG is a safe food additive according to the Food and Drug Administration. Still, several reports of MSG side effects include sweating, headache, itching, migraines, chest pain, nausea, hives, asthma, heart irregularities, seizures, migraines, and fatigue, have been reported.


Casein is the addictive property in cheese and naturally occurs in milk, but it is transformed into a refined and concentrated form in eateries. Typical food containing concentrated casein includes milkshakes, baked goods, desserts, and cheese products.

1. Soda

Cocaine was initially used in Coca-Cola until it was stopped in the early 1900s. Cocaine is produced from coca leaves today, although it’s mostly for medical use. However, a small amount is still being used today in soda drinks, and this can cause a physical dependency.

2. Coffee

Caffeine, like the ingredients in Coca-Cola, started as a medicinal supplement. Its presence in coffee is well known; while it is not entirely addictive, it can produce withdrawal symptoms when intake is cut or stopped entirely.

3. Chocolate

Chocolate can be suiting after a stressful day, and that is because it contains sugar, caffeine, and anandamide — a chemical component that gives its suiting feeling after indulging. This feeling doesn’t last long, creating a desire to eat more while chasing the high.

4. Sugar

Sugar is already well known as one of the most addictive additives in fast foods in existence. That’s why it can be hard to resist that second donut or another ice cream pop. Research has shown that sugar can substitute an addictive drug like cocaine offering rewarding and attractive properties.


If you’ve ever asked what makes fast food addictive, we believe your question has been answered. Fast food tends to be high in ingredients that are not only addictive but introduce harmful chemicals to your body when consumed.



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