4 Tips to Overcome Emotional Eating of Over-processed Foods

Emotional eating is the problem that causes many people to consume more nutrients than they should. It's caused by the hyperpalatability of commercialized products.
4 Tips to Overcome Emotional Eating of Over-processed Foods

Last update: 10 September, 2021

Did you know you can overcome emotional eating? Consuming food without feeling hungry is a bigger problem than it may seem. This process is called emotional eating. It’s caused by excessive palatability in many of the foods on the market.

The addition of added sugars, trans fats and additives causes people to continue eating. They eat even though they’ve already satisfied their appetite.

This situation often then makes the person overweight, as more calories are consumed than the body expends on a daily basis. For this reason, general health worsens, favoring the development of chronic health issues. However, emotional eating is a condition that can be overcome.

What is emotional eating and why does it harm you?

As we’ve mentioned, emotional eating is eating without hunger – eating just because some food looks delicious. The main problem with this is that you exceed the body’s nutritional needs, in addition to abusing substances that aren’t beneficial to health.

It should be noted that both simple sugars and trans fats have been shown to have a negative impact on the body, altering the functioning of systems and metabolism.

Emotional eating is related to the intake of ultra-processed industrial products, which is dangerous. There’s evidence that this type of food can increase the risk of illness.

In fact, it’s recommended that the diet be based on fresh foods, leaving industrial products for specific moments. However, these have in their favor the fact that they’re more palatable.

An emotionally hungry man.
Ultraprocessed foods tend to be more palatable, which increases the desire to consume them after hours and in excess.

How to overcome emotional eating?

We’re going to explain a series of tips that you can put into practice in order to overcome emotional hunger, thus improving your health.

1. Going to the supermarket on a full stomach

When we go to the supermarket when we’re hungry, there’s a greater risk of acquiring sweet products of poor nutritional quality. The simple fact of buying them has already caused the damage, because whenever our appetite takes over at home, we’ll resort to eating them. Due to their delicious taste, it’ll be difficult to stop eating them, even if we feel full.

Also learn more about: 8 Reasons to Avoid Processed Food

2. Increasing fiber intake in your diet

Another key piece of advice has to do with fiber intake in your diet. This non-digestible substance has the ability to increase the feeling of satiety, according to a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

This reduces the risk of snacking between meals and starting to consume sweet tasty products with little nutritional value.

3. Avoid distractions during meals

It’s important not to eat while watching television or using electronic devices. Otherwise, you’ll lose track of how much you’re eating.

This can lead to eating more than the necessary amount of a certain food, just because it satisfies your desires and taste buds. But this isn’t because there’s a real physiological hunger or a nutritional need.

When you eat, it’s important to put all your senses into it, and to be aware of the products that you’re consuming.

4. Don’t consume soft drinks

The regular consumption of sugar can create a certain addiction. This process relates to emotional eating. In this sense, soft drinks are characterized by having a large amount of simple carbohydrates, administered in liquid form.

The impact of these on your body will be more negative, and so it’s possible that the body will demand a constant supply in the future. This demand will always greatly exceed what the body actually needs.

A woman crying and eating.
Certain tasks performed at home promote emotional hunger, such as the use of electronic devices or presence in front of screens.

It’s possible to overcome emotional eating

Although it’s sometimes quite difficult, you can overcome emotional eating. The first thing to do is to be aware of the problem, otherwise you won’t be able to start solving it.

From this point on, we recommend that you put into practice the tips we mentioned above, as they’ll be effective in the medium term.

Remember that we’re talking about an action that has a lot to do with psychological behavior, so sometimes it may be useful to have some nutritional coaching or therapy sessions. The important thing is that this type of behavior doesn’t become a regular practice in your diet.

It’s essential to always keep in mind that hunger is a sensation that signals a need. When this process disappears, it’s best to suppress food intake. The body must understand that you’ve covered the essential requirements.

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  • Mendonça RD, Pimenta AM, Gea A, de la Fuente-Arrillaga C, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Lopes AC, Bes-Rastrollo M. Ultraprocessed food consumption and risk of overweight and obesity: the University of Navarra Follow-Up (SUN) cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Nov;104(5):1433-1440.
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