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Food addiction suppresses our will

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Do we ever think of what we eat? Has not taking a meal turned into reckless food consumption? Is one aware of being addicted to ready-to-eat supermarket food? Do we care for health at all?

It is common knowledge that food industries have been handling nations’ food cravings for a long time. Does awareness bring awakening?

Human consciousness consists of many factors with nutrition being one of them. And due attention to food will not only improve health and well-being but will rise our standards of living as well.

Sugar, salt and fat — the well-known pillars of food industry - that nourish the consumers’ desires. These ingredients are crucial for food companies to produce the top-selling items. Salt is recycled in dozens of ways to maximize enjoyment from the first bite. Calorie-packed fats make people over-eat. Sugar activates the brain cells.

Nowadays this kind of food has become the basic nutrition. People pretend its no big deal. Though more and more families drop home-eating in favor of ready-to-eat products.

Most people unconditionally trust advertising, not realizing what kind of food they ingest. Few know that food companies fight a never-ending battle to get “a place in stomach” that means to win a safe place in a customer’s everyday diet for a food brand in tough competition.

So the diseases of a civilization emerge.

Obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, diseases of a gall bladder, tooth decay, osteoarthritis, breast -, thick gut- and uterus cancer.

Food producers know well why we crave for sugar, salt and fat. They employ scientists to make numerous deep clinical researches and to further use the results to introduce sugar, salt and fat in dozens of new ways. Scientists perfectly know how sugar influences our body and that it makes us eat more than we need causing irreparable harm to health. They are perfectly aware of the direct link between sugar and uncontrollable overeating. Sugar instantly excites the centers of pleasure leading to addiction.

In a pursuit of better food appeal everything is verified to trifles. Food giants study brain to understand how humans react to certain products at the neural level.


Scientists found out that brain reacts to sugar the same way it does to cocaine. The idea that some food influences us as drugs emerged some 20 years ago. The food is compared to drugs as it brings human homeostasis to disorder. Everything we eat, we can trace in our blood. The processed food is digested at its worst. Blood is overloaded with sugar, salt and fats. And the body tries to recover to its baseline. It is crucial to have blood index unchanged.

But the most vivid food resemblance to drugs is in the brain. The brain doesn’t feel any difference between first and second courses, especially if the food is sweet, fatty or salty. After we ingest food, the brain uses the same neuron chains to deliver information about this food to the pleasure zones, that, in turn, give us nice feeling of well-being and healthy body. Brain simply mistakes this kind of food as healthy.

Hundreds of scientists in physiology, chemistry, neurology, biology and genetics have been working for many years to distinguish the taste- and smell -perception schemes, to study the psychology of food affection. The specialists in taste introduced the term “bliss point” - the precise balance of ingredients in food and drinks that gives the maximum pleasure. This magical “bliss point” defines our choice of food more than we do ourselves.

They wont sell much ketchup, yogurt, chocolate, pastry or bread, if they are not sweet enough. In other words, the companies will be able to sell much more ketchup, yogurt, chocolate, pastry and bread if the sugar “bliss point” for these products is precisely calculated. Sweet soft drinks stand apart. They magically influence our appetite being the "Trojan Horse" in weight gain. To launch new soda brand that would boost appetite and make us ask for more, companies need to conduct regression analysis to discover the bliss point that is to say the precise amount of sugar that would bring to rapture and make addicted.

The research also showed that body doesn’t feel like overeating when it gets liquid calories. For example, one Coca Cola can contains the amount of artificial sweetener equal to 9 teaspoons of sugar, and a bottle of 1.6 liters has 44 spoons of sugar! Food companies are constantly increasing the amount of sugar, salt and fat in their products. In fact, they are totally dependent on sugar, salt and fat for if they want to produce the food of maximum attraction at the lowest cost they simply cannot do without these three ingredients.

As sugar, for example, does not only give the sweet taste but also can replace more expensive ingredients such as tomatoes in ketchup giving weight and texture. Fats do not cost much although they can boost overeating and improve taste significantly. And salt being as cheap as water can easily brighten the flavor. So it appears that salt, sugar and fat being no longer nutritious elements are weaponized by food companies to surpass their rivals and get customers hoocked.

The food companies do not simply launch new products. They use rocket science and numerous tests to figure out the perfect combination that would make people addicted. The data is carefully analyzed and sorted to formulate product characteristics that are mostly attractive for consumers. However the manufacturing process considerably reduces nutritional value of products, because of the use of concentrated sugar and fats. It causes the formation of trans-fatty acids that are very harmful to our health.

Companies use various tricks to make people eat more: the label some products as “healthy to you” (for example, the packaged fruit juice is not produced from natural fruit but from the imitation, so sugar has a “healthy” mask) or advertize some ready- to-eat products as "brain food", promising to improve memory and concentration, referring to scientific researches. They use various marketing strategies as the strategy of "miniaturization" (launching product in a small package), capitalizing the buyers’ self-reproach that, actually, leads to even higher consumption of a product.

Of course the key importance here is the art of shelf stowage. New products and flavors are sold at reduced prices. Companies expand the product range, which is aimed at making a fuss about a brand, and get more shelf space therefore. For example, plain yogurt has become a dessert containing high amount of sugar. But still, since yogurt has the image of healthy and nutritious food, it earns millions to producers.

Food marketing and advertizing are the strongest tools after sugar, salt and fat that make us addicted. Consequently food producers spend twice as much on advertizing than they do on ingredients. The advertisement aimed at children takes a special place: commercials in children’s TV broadcasting, ads in paper magazines, web games, social networks, cartoon heroes on packing. Producers perfectly know that small children are naïve and perceive commercials as training programs.

Food bliss is not an abstract idea. Scientists proved that our "bliss point" for sugar, and all food in general, is based on the earliest impression. The food companies train children to love sweet; strictly speaking they stuff their minds with the ideas of how food “should taste” and often enough this is all about sugar.


Some types of fat, as well as sugar provide long shelf life for ready-to-eat food. Fat gives size and thickness to biscuits. Fat, replacing water, provides tenderness and taste of crackers. Fat improves structure and color of hot dogs and hamburgers.

If we compare fat and sugar to drugs, sugar resembles methamphetamine that quickly affects the brain, and fat is an opiate.

Fat saves money to producers. Besides, due to one of its outstanding qualities fat dramatically increases cooking potential. It can simultaneously disguise and intensify other tastes. And the main feature — fat doesn't "blow up" in a mouth, as sugar; it acts subtlety. Fat qualifies the texture and the look of a product, being weaponized by producers therefore. Fat is insensible and attacks us without flourishing trumpets, as salt and sugar do.

Scientists found out that the mass of sweet we eat is not sugar alone – fat is inevitable. Together fat and sugar reach such a level of attractiveness that none of them would reach separately. So the food companies can make their products more enjoyable not being afraid of customers’ response.

Due to high-energy value (twice as much as sugar) our brain considers fat the best friend of the body. The fatty the food the more fuel we can save to process later in body fat. Indeed, being such an eager fat-saver our body slows down the over-eating mechanism (signal the brain sends to us, letting know that we have already eaten enough). These signals can quite manage the sweet food. But the bliss point for fat is much further, if it exists at all. And there is something even more powerful than fat – that is fat combined with sugar. Having faced this combination the brain ceases to recognize fat. It becomes even less recognizable in food, and our brakes are out of control.

Considerable amounts of salt, sugar and fats are used not only to boost the taste; they help to prolong the shelf life of products for weeks and even months.

Brain’s limbic system of just loves sugar, salt and fat — calorie packed substances usually short in supply. That’s why food rich in salt, sugar and fat is being produced. Sometimes to increase profitability companies use cheap ingredients, puff advertising and PR. Unfortunately, companies are guided by the principle "produce all you can sell" very often. And consequently market faces the raise of ready-to-eat and processed food high in sugar, salt and fat and other harmful substances.


People do not simply like salt, they long for salty food.

Researches showed that salt abuse is addictive.

We love sugar since birth. As a matter of fact even a drop of sweet water makes a tiny baby smile. But children do not like salt, at least until six month old, and even then you need to talk them into having something salty. So since we didn’t like salt since birth, salt addiction is imposed on us. So the salty food producers do not only meet customers’ desires but create them.

In the world of production salt is the all-in-one assistant capable to fix any problem. A lot of processed food without salt has bitter metallic taste. Salt makes sugar sweeter, and crackers and frozen wafers crispier. But the most important thing about salt is that it disguises the rancid taste of processed meat fats being oxidized. Salt is not the only source of sodium stuffed into consumers. Companies use sodium food supplements to slow down bacterial decomposition, to connect components or to create such combinations of products that can't be achieved naturally (for example, to prevent division of proteins and fats in processed cheese). Sodium citrate, phosphate of sodium and a sour pyrophosphate of sodium have become common components of the processed products. They make the ready-to-eat food look better, taste better and stored better.

However, we can fight all types of addiction.

The choice is ours.