By Karrie Billets, Functional Nutrition Health Coach
Many are aware that the food industry works overtime to make unhealthy products irresistible to consumers. Your taste buds and appetite control center have been hijacked by the trillion dollar processed food industry.
Many of our food companies design foods to enhance your brain’s pleasure center called the “bliss point”. They love creating edible substances that achieve the bliss point — that perfect blend of salt, fat, sugar, and additives that makes a food intentionally addictive. This gives new meaning to the old potato chip slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one.” Of course you can’t! (1)
My great grandma wouldn’t recognize the oatmeal of today! We are consuming tear open packets of sweetened refined oatmeal with as much as 20 grams of sugar. Then take those so-called pseudo healthy yogurts filled with as much as 18 grams of sugar. I tell my patients unless you are buying unsweetened plain yogurt, most commercial yogurts are just “desserts in a cup”.
There are several ways to provoke cravings, which can contribute to addictive responses to foods. Here are a few:
Aroma – Humans have five major taste sensations: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, or savory. Though many foods target our taste buds, flavors also can be enhanced by our sense of smell. Smells can trigger cravings, like movie theater popcorn. The other day we walked out of Trader Joes and Burger King was blasting their ventilation smells to their advantage…like a drug calling people to their fries and burgers.
“Crunchiness” – Four pounds per square inch is the ideal breaking point to produce crunchy pleasure.Mine happens to be the “crunch factor” pleasure. (2)
“Meltiness” – Foods that quickly melt in your mouth can trick the brain into thinking there are fewer calories, which may encourage you to eat more of these foods. Dare I say chocolate!• Satiety-Satiety occurs when a person feels full while eating a meal. Some foods, particularly those with lots of added sugar, can override these satiety signals and fool your brain into thinking you aren’t full when you are.
Sugar – The sugar monster has been found to be an addictive devil that prompts binging, reward seeking, and craving. Unfortunately, even many “healthy” foods are filled with hidden sugar that can fuel cravings and mood issues. (3)
Texture – Some major store brands and fast-food restaurants alter the texture of the foods to make them taste more palatable. Texture often holds as much importance as flavor. There is huge variation in the language we use to describe what we eat: crispy, soft, creamy, dry, chunky, smooth, sticky, chewy, crumbly, etc.
The problem is our bodies were not created to process “fake” foods or “food like substances’ ‘. Our bodies are craving real nutrients and these foods are wreaking havoc on the health of our nation.