Are we addicted to food? I often wonder why I make certain food choices and I've seen addictions in many forms within my community. Michael Moss was a keynote speaker at Trinity University to bring awareness from his intense investigation on the Food Industry. He wrote Salt Sugar Fat which is my next read after seeing his knowledge and insight on the topic. I want to highlight some key interesting elements I learned.
The rise of processed foods begin after World War II when moms went to work. The TV began marketing campaigns selling convenience and government subsidies allowed cheap, affordable foods to be manufactured. Junk food is delicious, very convenient and we can agree not good to indulge in. What most don't realize is there is math and extensive science behind making food irresistible and profitable. The right amount of sugar is referred to as the Blisspoint, the exact amount of salt is the "Flavor Burst", and when fat is just right it creates the perfect "mouth feel". Unheard of terms like "Moreish" used to describe possible improvements, Sensory Specific Satiety to determine declining appetite and re-generated ones, Vanishing Calorie Density is when your mind tells you "its ok eat more" and Flavor Enhancers mask certain flavors. These are all used to determine the calculated science behind the billion dollar brands. Now there are three pillars that Michael talks about to bring light to the problems created and these are the same pillars we Nutrition professionals want to limit.
The first pillar Salt enhances flavor, masks others, adds crunchiness and delays spoilage. The problem is that salt directly increase blood pressure to which we have a huge problem with hypertension in this nation. Interesting fact about salt is that Roman soldiers were paid wages in salt hence the phrase "you aren't worth your salt". Just my observation but because salt was such a high commodity it was readily available and still dominates the food industry as a cheap ingredient. The second pillar Sugar has many uses as a delicious ingredient but has been on trial since the 70's. The problem has never been about salt or sugar but the copious amounts in everything we eat which creates health epidemics like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, tooth decay, etc. The third pillar is Fat which has many uses for its "ooey-gooey feeling". The problem is the type of fat we get in our diet and the food industries rely heavily on saturated fat from animals.
So with obesity and related diseases sweeping the nation these Food Giants are claiming a measure of responsibility. They have done campaigns like Kraft's Anit-obesity campaign and Campbell's Reduced Salt Campaign. It is evident the Food Industry will create what our food dollar demands so being mindful of the choices we get to make certainly moves the dial on what is manufactured. Lets support the healthier options their making to show them we care about what we put into our bodies. For our food industry partners please consider making a healthier menu option for those striding to make better choices. Stay tuned as we continue to look for ways to inform you, inspire you and ensure you are living Truly Well.