For Your Benefit, or Theirs? –
As we press down on the gas more & more each year, our pace through life has never been faster. The busier we get, the more we reach for convenience anywhere we can get it. One of these conveniences – food – loaded with salt, sugar, and bad fats.
Companies such as Nestle, Pepsi Co, Tyson, Mars, Coke, and Kraft, as well as fast food chains, have taken advantage of the need for convenient and quick foods to “serve” us as while we hustle through our lives. The reality is though, that these conveniences are
- slowing us down
- making us sick
- creating addiction & dependency
- & adding to the health crisis in our country
So, let’s take a look at the food on your table and see who you’ve really invited in for dinner.
They Are Businesses, Not Your Mom –
In his book, “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”, Michael Moss describes the scene.
It was 1999. The top executives from the largest food industries in America met in Minneapolis. They were feeling the heat. Fingers were pointed in their direction as the obesity epidemic began to increase in both adults and children.
You see, each of these companies has shareholders. They are focused on growth and space on the grocery store shelves. Each one wants to create products that taste irresistible, are convenient and don’t cost much. That’s the business. Create the best tasting products that are easy for people to consume and taste so good that they become household staples. More so than caring that their food creations are harmful, they care about creating repeat customers and their profit margin. Can we blame them? They are businessmen, not our moms.
How They Do It –
The Salt, Sugar, Fat Formula
Howard Moscowitz coined the term, “bliss point” and defines it as, “that sensory profile where you like foods the most”. This is created by, if you will, the holy trinity in the food industry; salt, sugar, and fat. Food engineers take these ingredients and create specific combinations to enhance certain properties of a food.
Let’s just pause for a moment and re-read “FOOD ENGINEERS”. Much of the “food” we consume in this country is, in fact, the result of an engineering project. Projects that the engineers themselves often choose to avoid in their own diets! Geniuses on many levels, it seems! Ok, back to the food trinity.
Salt is used for texture, solubility, and taste.
Gross flavors, such as metallic tastes, can happen during food processing. Salt works to mask these flavors.
Through precise engineering, there are many forms of salt that provide different levels of flavor in the foods, ultimately activating the pleasure centers in our brains.
It’s no secret that sugar is highly addictive.
Science has shown that addiction centers of the brain are activated with higher glycemic index (cause your blood sugar to rise quickly) foods.
Incorporating enough sugar into a food to activate these areas is top priority in food engineering projects.
To really define the mouth experience when we’re eating, engineers use various forms of fat.
In the bliss point formula, at least 50% of the calories of a food should come from fat to activate a pleasure response from eating the food.
You Have Free Will, You say?
So you see, food companies are purposefully high-jacking our brains with the foods that they create. They want to create a pleasure experience so high that you continually purchase their products, and in essence, become addicted to the specific formulation of salt, sugar, and fat in them. They’re taking away your ability to easily make food choices because you’re returning to foods from which you experience pleasure, even when you “know better”. Ask them what they call the addiction and they’ll give you manipulative language like, “crave-able“, “snack-able“, and “stomach share”.
Hiding Behind Happy Words & Pictures
What’s worse than all of that is how the food companies hide behind their marketing. When you see a box of cereal, you’ll see bright colors, happy characters, and words like “heart healthy”, “gluten free”, “high fiber”, or “protein rich”. The back of the cereal box tells a different story, but one most don’t understand because they can’t understand the ingredients list. What’s more, our bodies were never meant to handle the preservatives and other chemically manufactured ingredients that are added. This causes stress, inflammation and a myriad of disease as a result.
In the End
We have busy lives, mouths to feed, and we want to be able to trust that when buying foods, our bodies are being served so that we can keep up with the demands of our lives. With a megaphone in hand, I’m telling you that IS NOT THE CASE most of the time.
By normalizing being in the kitchen, cooking our food, and using whole ingredients again we not only bring back family meals, but we improve our health.
Through petitioning our schools to bring back, or spend more time on food education, each year, we partner with our communities and are able to make educated choices about what we eat.
Opening our eyes to how the food industry is contributing to our poor health, higher stress and astronomical healthcare costs we can make different choices and be the change in our lives, the lives of our families and the health of our communities.
About the Author
Amanda Haile is a Nutrition & Fitness enthusiast with 8 years experience. She coaches others on building health from the inside out and uses her own experience battling hidden disease to teach people that their environment (mental, physical & emotional) has greater influence on their health than they may understand. Her signature style is to teach people how to take baby steps toward health, so that changes stay exciting, are manageable and sustainable. Feel healthier and more confident so that you’re living a life of health, joy, and happiness that will bleed into your success and relationships. You can follow her on Instagram at @amanda.m.haile