Scrolling through reels as you gobble your breakfast, or ordering an extra large serving of that burger although you could make do with a medium size? Read on to learn more about the unhealthy eating habits you’ve unintentionally been engaging in and ways to correct them.

Eat to live was a motto followed by our ancestors, who considered food a necessity and not a way to engage in luxury. However, with the shifting of sands, the definition of eating has evolved. The drastic changes in technology and doorstep availability of sumptuous food with just a few finger taps have encouraged people to live to eat. Irresistible food tutorials, eye-catching platters, overwhelming emotions, and stressful work hours have all contributed to shaping unhealthy eating habits. The rise in non-communicable lifestyle diseases in the 21st century also has its roots stemming from an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy eating habits, with the latter weighing more heavily. However, with a few alterations in lifestyle, one can switch to mindful eating, know how to differentiate between good and bad eating habits, and avoid the burden that comes with poor food choices.

Effect of eating habits on lifestyle

Unhealthy food habits, including under-eating and overeating, can have a long-lasting impact on our lifestyle. Since diet forms an important dimension of health, it can influence all parameters of life, including, physical, social and psychological health. Here are a few of the effects of unhealthy food habits:

  • Impairs our overall well-being, making the body more susceptible to infections
  • Can increase levels of stress and feelings of tiredness
  • Is associated with adverse skin conditions and hair loss
  • Decreased activity of the immune system and increased rates of inflammation in the body
  • Can aggravate mental disorders like depression and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Bad eating habits can lead to diseases like obesity, increased cholesterol and blood pressure, heart-related conditions and cancer

10 Unhealthy eating habits

Following is a list of 10 bad eating habits:

  1. Skipping Breakfast: As the first meal of the day, consumption of breakfast is associated with positive outcomes for diet quality, weight management, and overall lifestyle. Breakfast is especially linked to better cognitive function, and can even impact health-related quality of life, stress, and depression. If the morning rush to get on time to university or work leads you to skip breakfast, you must consider rectifying this habit given the several benefits of breakfast for good health.
  2. Scrolling through smartphones during mealtime: Did you know, recent studies highlight that using smartphones while eating can cause one to eat more? Certain hormones are secreted during meal time which regulate satiety, thus controlling how much food we consume. They prevent the urge to continue eating. However, distractions from the phone can disrupt this system and one may end up consuming more calories than required. Besides, cognition is a crucial component that regulates food intake, and activities like scrolling through the phone can shift the mind’s focus from the actual task! So put your phone down and give your undivided attention to the food you eat.
  3. Lack of variety in colours on the plate: Unhealthy eating habits examples also include the lack of variety in diet or a plate that lacks colours. Just binge eating one type of food like too much rice or chips makes for a single coloured plate, and this is one of the unhealthy eating habits. You must be on the lookout to include most food groups in your meals, ranging from whole grains and pulses, vegetables, fruits, and milk and its products to nuts and eggs!
  4. Not controlling the portion size: From an ideal nutrition perspective, no food can do damage to you if you control the size and frequency of its consumption. Causes of unhealthy eating habits like overeating is due to the inability to practise self-discipline and control the urge to order a large serving instead of a small. An increased portion size increases the calories consumed by a person, thus leading to overweight and obesity and the numerous health conditions that come with it. A wise action to combat this is to always opt for a small-size plate. No space on the plate equates to less food on it, and the lesser you’d consume.
  5. Emotional eating: Emotional eating is a coping mechanism undertaken to get over negative emotions. However, opting for healthier ways like exercise, mindful eating, balancing emotions, and positive body image could help overcome this pattern among emotional eaters. It is also learned that feeling bored may cause one to find a lack of meaning in their present situation and life. To distract themselves from this experience, the state of boredom increases the urge to eat. This in turn can overestimate the calories consumed and can lead to obesity. Research suggests that a balanced diet along with sufficient physical activity can reduce mood swings and the risk of depression. Thus, having a balanced diet is essential for individuals in their teen years and early adolescents.
  6. Gulping down big bites: When understanding good and bad eating habits, one important criterion is also to eat at a slow pace and chew food thoroughly before swallowing. Chewing could be a factor that increases feelings of fullness and reduces food intake as well as cravings. This can in turn prevent eating on impulse. So the next time you pop anything in your mouth, spare an extra minute to chew the food as the activity of chewing could become a valuable tool for controlling the drive to eat.
  7. Not planning a balanced diet: If you haven’t made a brief sketch of what you wish to eat during a particular meal time, chances are you may opt for more processed options for the sake of convenience. Alternatively, a lack of planning may cause you to indulge in more calories. For example, in a study, it was discovered that people who had decided on eating an indulgent dish during a meal tended to work their food choices around it and opt for lower calories in other dishes and therefore manage their calories.
  8. Depriving yourself of food: Healthy and unhealthy eating habits are also formed based on the food you deprive yourself of. While results are contradictory, dieting may cause one to crave more of the food that they tried avoiding and thus lead to over-eating. Overloading calories during the later half of the day: It is suggested that consuming a greater proportion of calories earlier in the day may be more beneficial compared to consuming a large number of calories later at night.
  9. Not getting enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can begin a series of unhealthy behaviour, and make one desire weight gain promoting high-calorie foods. Adequate sleep is essential to thus manage eating habits.


Diet is the secret to leading a good life. However, while we religiously focus on staying updated on the latest dietary trends and ways to eat nutritious foods, it is equally essential to spot unhealthy behaviours. Bad eating habits can have a detrimental effect on the overall quality of life and thus must be traded for more healthy eating practices!