For those of you who only think I rant about financial issues, I have an excellent example of how we are all just slave to the elite and the corporations. Dr. David Kessler, a renowned scientist and former FDA director, set out some seven years ago to figure out the reasons behind the obesity crisis besetting the nation and what he found is laid out in his new book, The End of Overeating. He puts fourth the theory of "Hypereating". Hypereating is eating that is excessive, out of control and has nothing to do with satisfying hunger. You wouldn’t give your child a cigarette, or a shot of whiskey, or a snort of cocaine, but every day millions of American parents are giving thier children something almost as addictive—meals laden with sugar, salt and fat. And this is priming them for a lifetime of “conditioned hypereating.”
Corporate America, the modern version of the Feudal Lord, has found another way to get us to spend what we don’t have and buy what we don’t need. It turns out that our national weight gain is not, contrary to popular belief, because we are far less active. Studies have found little difference in the average energy expended now compared to the 1950s. In reality it is because we are eating way more calories than ever before, in the form of soda, junk food, sweets, fat and salt laden meals, and huge portions. We have become addicted to food, and that addiction starts in very early childhood.
Kessler’s book explains how sugar, fat and salt stimulates the reward centers of the human brain in a very similar way to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. By eating food that is extremely palatable, we want more, even when we aren’t hungry, and almost can’t help ourselves. Since highly palatable junk food is socially acceptable, and often cheaper than the healthy stuff, we keep going back for more and more. And no one knows this better than the food industry.
Dr. Kessler interview an industry consultant who says that food manufacturing companies try to hit what they call the “three points of the compass”:
"Sugar, fat and salt make a food compelling", said the consultant. ‘They make it indulgent. They make it high in hedonic value, which gives us pleasure." “Do you design food specifically to be highly hedonic,” I asked. “Oh, absolutely,” he replied without a moment’s hesitation. “We try to bring as much of that into the equation as possible.”
It’s incredibly hard in this country of cheap calories to fight the power of the food makers, advertisers and friends and family. Dr. Kessler, who was instrumental in the 90s in bringing about tobacco regulation, says it will take many years to reverse the trend that started almost 30 years ago, just as it took decades to reduce the smoking rate. But this will only happen if people start standing up for their right to eat food that isn’t designed to addict them and their kids. Maybe some sort of regulation is required,Ii dunno. Try making something from scratch, use less box meals, and for god’s sake, drive by McD’s once in a while without stopping.