As you snack on your potato chips or popcorn, something unusual happens. You suddenly have no sense of fulfillment. Whereas you can sit down and eat a slice of pizza and feel full, when you eat a crispy, crunchy snack, the habituation of the crunch becomes addicting.
Crispy foods have no problem selling. In fact, it’s been noted that merely using the word crispy in food marketing is extremely successful. The next time you bite your crispy chicken or salted cracker, consider the effect it has not only on your senses, but on your mental processes.
It’s no secret that a healthy lifestyle is not as simple as dieting. If dieting were easy, there would be no struggle. We would all simply stop eating unhealthy foods. The problem is that eating right and exercising requires physical action, yes, but also a mental decision. Every day people all across the world wake up and make a decision that determines how their body is affected.
Some people put more thought into their eating habits than others. Partially due to their upbringing, possibly due to their financial restraints, and other factors play a role as well. But what happens when you have all of the knowledge before you? Each person has a choice to make on a daily basis—will you make healthy choices? Will the crispy food you consume consist of crisply, crunchy vegetables or greasy, fried breading on that covers otherwise healthy, white chicken?
Crispy foods are addicting. There’s no way around that simple fact. By why are people so drawn to the sound and taste and smell and feel and look of anything crispy? Recently, John Allen, an author that specifically addresses crispy foods, discussed the history of crispy foods.
He looks at the past and the foods consumed by the primates. Differentiating themselves from other mammals, primates ate insects—crunchy, crispy insect. While that might not sound too appealing, the crispy factor was working long before the invention of the potato chip.
As time progressed, vegetable plant material, especially when fresh, is incredibly crispy. And, now, people appeal to salty, sugary, fatty, and most importantly, crunchy foods. Although humans do not innately have a crispy detector, the crispiness of snacks and other foods is incredibly attractive.
Typically, individuals experience habituation while eating. Think about your eating habits. Fast food and sit down restaurants offer side courses, main courses, appetizers, and desserts, among other options. When you eat one thing, you begin to stop tasting the food and eating becomes monotonous. Now add to the mix crispy snacks. You can sit in a movie theater and crunch on popcorn throughout its entirety. The crunch of the crispy foods is enticing and addiction.
The next time you sit down with a crispy snack, be cautious of your intake. Limit yourself by separating popcorn into a smaller bowl or only grabbing a handful of chips from the bag. Or, even better, stick to healthy snacks. When you are aware of the effect food has on your body, change is more apt.