So many of you might already have read this article. I heard about it from a Nutrition Diva Podcast. It’s an article outlining how the food industry really is out to get us. I don’t think there is anything new in this, but seeing it in black and white, with quotes from the people involved, really can give you pause.
In my last blog post I talked about how people don’t really factor the odds of their behavior into their choices. Immediate gratification wins out for most people. This article from the Times spells out why that is.
The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since this meeting — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control? It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on the part of the food manufacturers. What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.
Nothing new, right? How many times have you said “I must have potato chips”, “I can’t live without chocolate” or found yourself with things in your cart you didn’t want or need?
We KNOW the food industry spends millions of dollars “optimizing food”, finding the perfect combination of salt, fat and sugar, mouthfeel and odor, to make the food irresistable. irresistable. How’s that work with your waistline? Here’s another snippit from that article:
As we talked, he made clear that while he has worked on numerous projects aimed at creating more healthful foods and insists the industry could be doing far more to curb obesity, he had no qualms about his own pioneering work on discovering what industry insiders now regularly refer to as “the bliss point” or any of the other systems that helped food companies create the greatest amount of crave. (italics are mine)
Wanna feel sorry for them?
The prevailing attitude among the company’s food managers — through the 1990s, at least, before obesity became a more pressing concern — was one of supply and demand. “People could point to these things and say, ‘They’ve got too much sugar, they’ve got too much salt,’ ” Bible said. “Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.”
Poor babies are trapped!
Release them! Don’t buy those products. Don’t try them. Don’t succumb. What’s the easiest way to quit smoking? Don’t start. I will tell you, in the beginning, you will go through withdrawal. The language of addiction in this article is not coincidental! You started out with a biology ready to succumb to sugar, fat and salt, as those used to be hard to get, and were like bonus rounds back when starvation was a real possibility. Now, when that basic drive has been shaped and honed by scientists, working on them to trigger them over and over, you will feel a loss when you stop stoking that fire. However, in 6 months to a year, you will find that some of your previous favorites taste too sweet. You’ll be able to taste the chemicals in many of them. Non dairy french vanilla creamer- yuch- once you are off it long enough to distinguish real from fake.
You know the answer; if it comes in a box, a bag, a carton, if it has more than five ingredients, and if sugar or salt are in the first two, don’t buy it. Start cooking for yourself, and if you tell me you don’t have time, I’ll tell you you are wrong. I can get a meal on the table in the time it takes you to go through the drive through at McDonalds. It does take planning ahead and preparation. I have about 6 containers of soup in my freezer for “quickies”.
Before you go freaking out about GMO or vegan, gluten free, dairy free or whatever, get chemical free and junk food free. See how you feel after that. Even peanut butter has been engineered, get all natural first, and see if your peanut butter intake drops. (That was for all my friends who complain about finding themselves pigging out on that in an attempt to avoid other sweet, salty, fatty snacks) Get unsalted peanuts- you won’t find those nearly as irresistible.