Skip Nav
Beginner Fitness Tips
A Trainer Gets Brutally Honest About Why You Aren't Seeing Results
Fitness Gear
Are You Ready For This? Our 56 Favorite Sneakers of 2017 Are So Freaking Cool
Class Fitsugar
Burn 200 Calories in 20 Minutes With This Quick Workout

Why We Overeat: We Crave Fattening Foods

Juicy hamburgers, crispy French fries smothered in cheese, brownie sundaes topped with ice cream — why can't we say no to these fattening foods? We can't help it, according to Health magazine. Dr. David A. Kessler, author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite says, "We’re hardwired to hunger for fatty, sugary, salty foods because, back when our ancestors were foraging for every meal, palatable eats meant extra energy and a leg-up on survival."

Well thank you Mr. Caveman for my desire for greasy pizza and cheesecake. Not only do high-fat foods taste great, but when you devour them, a signal is sent to your brain that you're satisfied and happy. Your brain also forms long-term feel-good memories of the experience, which makes you crave it again and again. Even seeing or smelling certain fattening foods can spur pleasant thoughts that make us crave it. Well I guess old habits die hard. It does make me feel better to know that my brain's hunger for triple chocolate mousse pie is a force stronger than my willpower.

How can you combat this hardwired desire? Find out when you


The best thing you can do is know which high-fat foods are triggers for you. Dr. Kessler says since certain moods, times of day, or places can spark our need for our favorite treats, avoid giving into your cravings. This will prevent the link from forming between foods and their triggers. Also set yourself up for success by avoiding foods that you can't say no to. That means you might want to find a different route to work that doesn't take you past a chocolate shop.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 7 years
For me, the secret is to eat a lot of fruits and veggies. By doing that, my body somehow doesn't feel "hungry" for stuff. When you fill up on empty calories, your body never realizes it's nourished, so you keep craving stuff to eat that's not great for you.
Allytta Allytta 7 years
my grandparent's were born in the middle of World War II and right there in the depths of Russia. so salt was very extravagant thing to taste. so now my grandpa puts loads of salt on everything. just because he was growing up craving it so badly. also he cuts sausage, cheese, butter and bread 3 time thicker than any normal person. overcompensating. but he's still slim. even though all women from his side of the family are fat. oh, the fat genes...
sloane220 sloane220 7 years
i can exercise all day long, but when it comes to controlling my diet it gets impossible to do for an extended period of time. and i can definitely identify with fauxcats i definitely crave fattier foods during the winter.
mek123 mek123 7 years
I've learned that my trigger foods are cheese and chocolate and just try to avoid them altogether, most other foods I can have a little bit and stop.
Run2bfree067 Run2bfree067 7 years
I get cravings SEEING things. I tell everyone not to pick up ice cream- its a weakness! I won't be in the mood for food, but when I see it in the freezer i can't help but have several tiny (shot glass- iseriously recomend it for desserts) servings a day AND BOOM its gone in a week! See no Evil Spark no cravings!!
zeze zeze 7 years
For me, it's not really a food, but a setting, I can't be a calorie counter or healthy eater in social settings, I've tried, but I fail! As long as it's a big gathering with friends/family I can't resist giving in...what's the cure to that, stop seeing them?
Raynne413 Raynne413 7 years
When I was dealing with the worst part of my eating disorder, I learned from my nutritionist that I was getting carb cravings because I had cut too much fat out of my diet. Almost EVERYTHING was fat free. As soon as I started adding back in more, healthy fats, the cravings dramatically diminished.
TammyO TammyO 7 years
I as well crave those fatty foods and extra pasta when it gets cold. All summer long I was stuffing my face with fruits and veggies and water and as soon as it gets cold I'm reaching for chips or ice cream and pie.
sunsophia sunsophia 7 years
I go into hibernation mode too. I'm usually good at avoiding carbs, but come fall and winter that's all I want. Worst!
Angelica Angelica 7 years
BTW, I thought the The End of Overeating was a great read and eye-opening. Thanks for the suggestion, FitSugar!
Angelica Angelica 7 years
I'm with you fauxcats. I have the same problem. I can eat healthy and light all Summer, but as soon as it gets cold I start craving fatty foods.
ella1978 ella1978 7 years
I can't read Yum sugar before lunch.. thats what I have to do, HA. For me, seeing sweets triggers a craving. I can see french fries but feel nothing.
Dana18 Dana18 7 years
I try to eat less sugar and fatty foods. I find this helps keep cravings away.
Tiger Eye Hair Color
Best Parenting Hacks
Cindy Crawford and Kaia Gerber's Cutest Pictures
Kelly Ripa's Halloween Costumes
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds