Why Do We Naturally Love and Crave “Bad” Food So Much?!



Ice cream.


OMG are you drooling too?! Why are these foods sooooo appealing even though they don’t give us very much nutrition? What is it about creamy, crunchy, sweet, and sometimes even greasy food that is so comforting? Why do we crave the foods that just make us feel gross and sleepy after we eat them?

As you know, I’ve been obsessed with learning the WHY about things so that I can better understand how our brains and bodies work. And just to clarify – don’t ever feel guilty for eating these foods! I’ve just always been curious why we naturally will get more excited about pizza instead of say, kale 😂  Sooo, this is what I found on why these “bad” foods are so tempting!

glass bowl of french fries

Fat is satisfying! 

Pretty much any type of comfort food, dessert, fried food, etc. is pretty high in fat.

And fat is satisfying.

It’s calorie-dense and makes you feel full. Then, it takes longer to digest so it helps to KEEP you full. It adds a creamy, thick texture to food, and you can’t deny that fat also gives food a ton of flavor! All of these things combined = satisfaction.

HOWEVER. You can get the same satisfaction with healthy fats like avocado and olive or coconut oil. Next time you’re tempted to pile some cheese on your burrito bowl, try avocado instead. It’s surprising just as satisfying and avocado gives you sooo much more in terms of nutrition!

chopped sweet chocolate pieces

Sugar makes you happy 

We’ve discussed this before, but your brain really tends to like sugar. When you eat sugar, your brain literally treats it like a reward and releases a dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy.

I guess that’s why it’s so common to crave sweets!

Even though it’s totally fine to give into your sweet cravings every now and then, you can also use fruit in a lot of different ways to add some sweetness to your favorite meals if you’re looking for a nutritional boost.

wooden spoon filled with salt

Salt and sugar = FLAVOR! 

Bland food is boring food.

But food with intense flavor, many times thanks to sugar or salt, is DELICIOUS. Combine that with the extra flavor thanks to fat, and whooaaa your taste buds are excited! Food that is bursting with flavor is just harder to put down. Plus, the memory of that flavor is a serious trigger for cravings.

If your healthy food isn’t cutting it flavorwise, it’s time to experiment with some spices! My favorites are paprika, chili powder and pretty much any Trader Joe’s seasoning. Yum.

Texture is important too! 

It’s not all about flavor.

Texture is a big factor when it comes to how much we enjoy a food. I mean, think about it. You might hate the stringy texture of something like celery, which makes it really hard to enjoy. On the other hand, maybe you literally crave the texture of warm, melty cheese or a velvety soup.

It also depends on our mood sometimes! There’s just something about a smooth, creamy texture that feels more soothing and comforting. If you’re feeling cozy or you need a little comfort, you might be more likely to crave those types of foods.

If you’re stressed or angry, crunchy foods like chips might be your go-to. Chewing on these foods is actually a form of stress relief for some people!

Drop the mindset that any food is actually “bad”

Unless it’s literally poison, obviously 😉

Yes, some foods give us more nutrition than others. But that doesn’t mean those other foods can’t benefit us in other ways. Food is an important part of our mental health too 🙂 Eating the foods you truly enjoy is just as important as learning how to enjoy healthy foods!

What are some “bad” foods that you crave the most? Tell me in the comments! 

37 thoughts on “Why Do We Naturally Love and Crave “Bad” Food So Much?!”

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  1. Andrea says:

    Pizza always! Do you have a suggestion for this craving? I also want to say that I absolutely love following you. I have been for a few years off and on but I am now doing the hot girl summer series paired with your 30 minute ab routine daily and have ALREADY seen results in my abs. I never thought I would get results. I drink a gallon of water a day and eat cleanish. I love your message and think it is such a positive one. Thank you for all you do Cassey!

  2. Sara says:

    Salami and cheese

  3. Danica says:

    Indian mango and mixed veg pickle!

  4. Tasneem A. Siahiwala says:

    I call these my comfort foods and I usually have them during my second or third period days or both, my favourite on these days or actually any day is a plain chicken Mayo sandwich with chips. I’m not a sweet tooth and I don’t like cakes and ice creams or even chocolate as I crave these say once in two months or more. The n the other hand, I love to eat homemade sweet meats made with ghee and nuts and whole wheat flour and vegetables like carrots, gourds and unprocessed brown sugar lumps known as GUR. The rich colour and flavor is oh so good and so comforting during the winters. And I usually have a small serving of these in breakfast as they give healthy carbs, fats and proteins and fiber and sometimes a bite or two in cold winter evenings as these are eaten hot, these are typical South Asian foods.

  5. Anne says:

    i was more into savory snacks but now i crave sugar, biscuits, sweet chocolate, sweet wines and i noticed that over the last 5 years after two kids i have struggled to lose weight which is about 40 pounds above my pre pregnancy weight .

  6. Nevaha Bishop says:

    Sometimes I’ll walk into Dutch bros (local coffee shop) that does blended energy drinks and just ask for their reddest sweewst drink because i don’t even care about flavor i just need red and cold. Am i totally alone ??

  7. Inaya says:

    Chips! Always chips!

  8. Ash says:

    I hate that cheese is referred to as “bad” or “unhealthy”. In moderation, it’s a good thing to have in your diet. Cheese is a great source of many vitamins and it contains omega 3 fatty acids. However, I am also aware that in the US the cheese people normally have access to isn’t actually real cheese as well as being heavily processed, so I can see how it gets a bad reputation nutritionally there. Additionally, I would like to point out many types of cheese are very high in protein. So for some, it could be a better choice to put cheese on their burrito than avocado 🙂

    1. Tasneem A. Siahiwala says:

      I make my own Greek yogurt and cottage cheese at home with no chemicals and I have this pretty regularly and I love it

  9. Maria says:

    I love everything with chocolate ♡

  10. TDK says:

    Almond M&M’s chocolate will do the job whenever I’m stress, unhappy or 1 week b4 my period.

  11. April says:

    A huge bag of Cheetos, specifically the jalapeño flavor. Whenever I’m nearing my period or when I’m stressed due to school, I always crave Cheetos and it makes me feel gross afterward though I can’t stop eating it as I get another piece :<

  12. sallie says:

    deprivation!! a huge part of the reason we crave foods we don’t biologically need is because we don’t allow ourselves to eat them. once you give yourself permission to a) eat to satiety (ie stop dieting — so you’re not HUNGRY all the time) and b) eat these “bad” foods, you won’t crave them so much.

    basically, why do we crave “bad” foods? dieting.

    1. Kimi says:

      Thissss thank you

  13. Grace Fuentes says:

    I crave bread, tortillas, salt, butter, and cream.

  14. Natasha says:

    This is so true im 11 and you know kids L.O.V.E sweets sometimes i feel some kind of way and just sit somewhere eat a lot of quote on quote bad food and pass out in my bed other than that i try key word try to maintain a healthy diet and workout .

  15. Ashley says:

    Ice cream for sure! I usually crave it every night after dinner, so I’ve been watching my portions and and plan to switch to dairy free next time I get some from the store.

    1. blogilates says:

      LOVEEEEEE ice cream!!! I’ve been trying out so many different ones – let me know which ones are your fave!

  16. Mariamne Nunez says:

    I used to get grossed out with donuts but then I had to start a diet because i became prediabetic and other things. I went from using 3 packets of sugar for my coffee to using one and one stevia packet and almost no other added sugars. that’s when my sweet tooth got so bad and the one thing I kept craving every day was donuts….

  17. food Network days are made to be super hyper palatable so that it beacon digest the calories more, we can eat more in a shorter amount of time, and we will want to buy more. Food science is actually get paid to do this! The food industry certainly can be malicious…

  18. edna says:

    All this talk is great but I’ll never benefit if I can’t overcome my arch nemesis; Ice cream sandwiches. I keep hearing I should look into Keto https://bit.ly/3bCIHzt has anyone here had any success with this, should i give it a try?

  19. Yuna says:

    The only sweets I regularly eat is chocolate. It’s kind of like a high-calory snack before I want to eat a full meal. Without it I would just be skin and bones by now I guess. I’m slightly underweight because I work out a lot, but I’m too lazy to prepare food sometimes, and also I’m pretty slim in general when it comes to bone structure. Apart from that I don’t crave any food in large amounts because I associate the bad afterwards taste and bad digestion I get with them. I think I’m quite a good intuitive eater, apart from eating too few often.

  20. Deekshitha says:

    Mc donalds, coffee,cheese cake, chips

  21. Umme Kulsum says:

    I crave cheeseburgers,brownies,cheese fries and ofc ice cream the mostttt

  22. Tough but Trying says:

    Ice cream, cookies, donuts, scones, there’s to many to count!!! I love them all!

  23. Kiri says:

    I definitely love salty and cheesy foods

  24. Sharon says:

    Yay for ditching the terms “good” and “bad” foods! 😁 I include carbs, fat, and protein at every meal and I eat pastries as snacks or dessert, so I never really get “cravings,” though if I’m not eating enough for whatever reason it’s either chow mein or pizza with soy cheese that I end up craving–salty, oily foods, which makes sense because I work in a high-stress work environment (hot kitchen) 🙂

  25. Anne says:

    I crave chocolate and pretty much any dessert. I also love cheese and pasta!

  26. Jessica H says:

    All the pizza LOL

  27. Abbie says:

    Glazed donuts😍

  28. Lexi says:

    Have you ever tried flavor God seasoning? I’ve been meaning to but curious on your thoughts. https://flavorgod.com/

    I love this article! It is very relatable as we all have a weaknesses. Mines is Ice Cream!

  29. vanshika_ says:

    Chocolate and pizza

  30. Still feeling somewhat guilty about food. says:

    I had a one cookie and 1 brownie and a half this week honestly I felt like it was okay to eat the time but the body bounces back. Being in college and being active is a challenge at times.

  31. Lauren E says:

    McDonald’s fries! I’m soooo addicted! XD