Have you ever felt like you just can’t shake off the weight? Do you know someone who has ever struggled with diet and exercise plans to stay in shape?
Do you know anyone in your family who suffers from heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, or food related cancers? Have you ever wondered why you just can’t stop eating that huge bag of potato chips or why you have to put in long hours on the treadmill or elliptical machine to keep your diet in check?
Have you ever wondered why this has only recently become a major problem in America? Look no further than the how corporate agribusiness and the processed food industry – the huge conglomerates that produce most of the food in your local grocery store – which have been “optimizing” their products with all sorts of complex mathematical equations for the past thirty years to addict you to high calorie garbage food which is scientifically designed to have low nutritional value and to always leave you craving for that next serving of Doritos:
Note: This excerpt comes from Michael Moss’s Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Industry Hooked Us which shows how the fatal combination of capitalist agriculture with liberty and democracy at the grocery store has been destroying your health.
“Both fat and salt are at the heart of Frito-Lay’s operations in Plano, Texas, and some of the companies favorite methods for manipulating these two ingredients were relayed to me by a former chief scientist there named Robert I-San Lin. These include a remarkable effort by company officials to reduce the ideal snack to a mathematical equation of taste and convenience – “P = A1T + A2C + A3U – B1$ -B2H – B3Q,” with the P standing for Purchase and the allure of fat and salt easily overcoming the H, or the public’s health concerns.
I would find out that one of the most compelling and unsettling, aspects of the role of salt, sugar and fat in processed foods is the way the industry, in an effort to boost their power, has sought to alter their physical shape and structure. Scientists at Nestle are currently fiddling with the distribution and shape of fat globules to affect their absorption rate and, as it’s known in the world’s leading supplier of salt, their “mouthfeel.” At Cargill, the world’s leading supplier of salt, scientists are altering the physical shape of salt, pulverizing it into a fine powder to hit the taste buds faster and harder, improving what the company calls its “flavor burst.” Sugar is being altered in myriad ways as well. The sweetest component of simple sugar, fructose, has been crystallized into an additive that boats the allure of foods. Scientists have also created enhancers that amplify the sweetness of sugar to two hundred times its natural strength …
The industry’s pursuit of allure is extremely sophisticated, and it leaves nothing to chance. Some of the largest companies are now using brain scans to study how we react neurologically to certain foods, especially to sugar. They’ve discovered that the brain lights up for sugar the same way it does for cocaine, and this knowledge is useful, not only in formulating foods. The world’s biggest ice cream maker, Unilever, for instance, parlayed its brain research into a brilliant marketing campaign that sells the eating of ice cream as a “scientifically proven” way to make ourselves happy …
Inevitably, the manufacturers of processed food argue that they have allowed us to become the people we want to be, fast and busy, no longer slaves to the stoves. But in their hands, the salt, sugar, and fat they have used to propel this social transformation are not nutrients as much as weapons – weapons they deploy, certainly, to defeat their competitors but also to keep us coming back for more.”