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How Fast Food Signs Can Make You Overeat

How Fast Food Signs Can Make You Overeat

When “fast foods” were first introduced to the world, the idea was simple: quick and cheap foods would allow people to eat a meal on-the-go and move on to complete their work. This, it was believed, would help increase efficiency levels.

The idea proved to be appealing. Today, the consumption of fast food in America has jumped 500% in the last three decades. And with the passage of time, the brain has learned to recognize fast food signs as an indication to hurry up. According to a study done at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, just the sight of a familiar fast food sign can trigger impatience.

During the study, participants were exposed very briefly to a leading fast food chain’s logo. Soon after, they were assigned simple tasks. The results were telling: these participants read a book faster and chose time-saving products such as a two-in-one shampoo. Researchers connected this behavior to the subconscious message given off by the sight of the fast food sign: Hurry up!

Why is this bad for our health? When we order in a hurry, our nutrition can suffer. We might make more rash decisions to consume high-calorie foods.

But it does not stop there. Driving into a fast food restaurant is only the first step toward eating a high-calorie, unhealthy meal. Those items we order can sabotage our health further, suggests another study conducted at the UT Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas.

This study found that foods high in fat–especially those that contain beef, cheese, butter and sugar–inhibit our resistance to insulin and the hunger-suppressing hormone, leptin. As a result, the brain is unable to communicate to you that your stomach is full and that you should stop eating.

No wonder chains started offering a “super size” option.

How do you feel when you see a fast food sign? Does any of this ring true for you?


Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, Life, , , , , , , , , ,

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


+ add your own
8:39AM PST on Jan 3, 2015

Thank you!

10:51AM PDT on Jul 11, 2014

Wasn't this self-evident in the first place.

4:49PM PDT on May 1, 2014

Another great post--thanks.

9:27AM PDT on Apr 26, 2014

Well, for the most part when I see those signs I think of ketchup on the floor, salt all over my table that looks like a cast out model for Romper Room, and a line so long I can get food more quickly and accurately at my favorite bars and pubs. Thanks.

6:54AM PDT on Apr 26, 2014

They're tricky ones! Thanks for sharing. Interesting post

5:29AM PDT on Apr 23, 2014

Don't up size

5:27AM PDT on Apr 23, 2014


6:58PM PDT on Apr 21, 2014

I NEVER EVER GO TO THESE PLACES. Thank-you for sharing.T.R ;)

4:38AM PDT on Apr 20, 2014


1:59AM PDT on Apr 20, 2014

Thank you :)

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