Illustration for article titled Quitting junk food can bring on withdrawal symptoms
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If you’re trying to give up fast food or chocolate on favor or healthier food items, good for you! But a new report suggests that your first non-junk-food week may be rather trying. Live Science reports today on a new study, in which “researchers found that people attempting to cut down on eating highly processed foods experience some of the same physical and psychological symptoms… as those quitting smoking cigarettes or using marijuana.”


The study, published online in the journal Appetite, was conducted by adapting a drug-withdrawal questionnaire and giving it to 200 people who had tried to diet by giving up junk food. The respondents cited symptoms such as “mood swings, cravings, anxiety, headaches and poor sleep,” which can also be prevalent during withdrawal from cigarettes or weed. Symptoms were most intense between days two and five after kicking the specific substances, also paralleling withdrawal. Given past findings that junk food often triggers our brains in the same way drugs do, this follows logically.

Hopefully these findings don’t cause you to second-guess your attempt to kick the junk food—just don’t be surprised if you find those first few days a bit of a rough haul. Good luck.


Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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