Salt Sugar and Fat Addiction
It’s not you, it’s them: why you’re addicted to Salt, Sugar and Fat
Our favorite foods are making us fat, but we can’t resist them because they are changing our minds as well as bodies…
Blame big companies like Coke, Kraft and Nestle for making us fat. They’ve known for years that sugary, salty and fatty foods aren’t good for us in the quantities we consume them. If we all snacked occasionally on junk food, it wouldn’t be such a problem. But industry insiders spend a LOT of time and money to make sure you don’t just eat a little, you eat a LOT. Food giants use science and piles of money to discover what they call the ‘bliss point’ of eating to engineer cheap and convenient food that creates the greatest amount of crave.
The research takes place in labs, focus groups and grocery store aisles. Ordinary people like us are paid to spend hours in rooms where they sip, smell, touch and taste certain products. Their opinions are part of the process to determine what food features will be the most attractive and addictive to consumers. And in the end, the hidden power of these foods makes us feel hungrier than when we started eating, so we keep eating.
Coca Cola is one of the worst offenders of addictive junk food because it triggers an addictive reaction in many people who drink it. Did you know 20% of Coke drinkers drink 80% of the Coke in the world? That number says a lot. Certain carbs like potato chips create a craving for more once you start eating. Ever notice how you can’t eat just one of something? There’s a reason for that…
The Science behind junk food addiction:
Dr. David Kessler is a Harvard trained doctor who wrote the bestselling book “The End of Overeating”. He describes how the food industry and restaurant chains engineer foods to be just as addictive as cigarettes by working with the brain to get us hooked on sugar, fat and salt. The big boys in the food industry use science to engineer the perfect taste, color, texture, look and smell, creating the ‘bliss point’, a common industry term. If you think a bag of Doritos is a simple snack, think again. A lot of time and money goes into designing this complex artificial food that triggers the reward system in the brain. And it’s as powerful as a drug.
Why do we get addicted?
A bag of potato chips doesn’t just satisfy hunger and deliver calories. The salt, sugar and fat in a potato chip combine to make it perfectly addictive. The starch in the chips cause glucose levels to rise, which results in a craving for more. Snack food like chips also stimulates the brain to release dopamine when we eat them – dopamine is the same ‘feel good’ brain chemical released if you do cocaine. Ever wonder why you crave those Cheetos? Over time, the brain likes getting flooded with feel good chemicals. When you see the package in the store, or if your roommate even mentions Cheetos, the brain starts craving dopamine. It’s no coincidence that the most addictive foods are the cheapest and easiest to buy.
Can the Military Diet help curb my addiction?
The only cure for junk food addiction is to abstain. You need to identify the foods you’re addicted to and stop eating them! In a world full of salt, sugar and fat, that can be a tall order. The Military Diet doesn’t include junk food. You may miss your favorite foods, but losing weight rapidly keeps you motivated. Wouldn’t you rather spend your money on skinny jeans than a Cheeto addiction? Even if you suffer junk withdrawal, the Military Diet reboots your eating habits and curbs unhealthy addictions to junk food. Consider it food rehab, like a diet boot camp.
Check out some favorite addictive foods. You might be surprised…
There’s more science in that melty orange snack than you might believe. Frito Lay employs a team of 500 chemists, psychologists and technicians at a research plant near Dallas for a cost of $30 million a year to create the perfect crunch, mouth feel and aroma for their products. Frito Lay also has a $40,000 device that simulates a chewing mouth to create the perfect ‘break point’ of a chip. It turns out people like about four pounds of pressure per square inch. Cheetos are one of the most engineered products on the planet, designed specifically to make the brain say ‘more’. The Cheetos’ ability to melt in the mouth is called ‘vanishing caloric density’. If something melts quickly, the brain thinks there’s no calories so you keep eating until you’re finished the bag.
You don’t think of sugar when you think of spaghetti sauce, but the next ingredient in Prego Spaghetti sauce after tomatoes is sugar. A half cup of Prego Traditional has the same amount of sugar as two Oreo cookies. The same amount of spaghetti sauce also has 1/3 of the sodium recommended for an adult in a day.
We all think yogurt is a healthy part of breakfast, but some yogurt brands have twice as much sugar per serving as Lucky Charms cereal. Any smart mom would choose yogurt over Lucky Charms, but we still think yogurt is healthy. Every 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon of sugar. So go check the yogurt in your fridge and see if you still think it’s healthy.
Working moms want to provide a healthy lunch in the least amount of time in the morning. Do you think Lunchables are good for you or your kids? They’re not. Monica Drane, mother of three, is the daughter of Lunchables creator Bob Drane (he used to work at Oscar Meyer, the baloney legend). She says, “I don’t think my kids have ever eaten a Lunchable. They know they exist and that Grandpa Bob invented them. But we eat very healthfully.” Lunchables are full of salt, sugar and fat – why do you think kids like them so much? How can cheese, ham and crackers be so bad for you? Kraft adds starch to the cheese slices, hydrogenated oil and high-fructose corn syrup to the crackers and sodium nitrate to the ham. This teeny tiny meal has 20 grams of fat, 900 grams of sodium and 22 grams of sugar – that’s 5 teaspoons of sugar. Lunchables are designed to last on the shelf for months so just imagine the chemicals and preservatives.