The Science of Addictive Junk Food

What if I told you that overeating had a lot less to do with lack of willpower and self-control than you thought?  That weight gain and the subsequent diet related diseases of the day are partly out of our control?  Just who’s responsible, anyway?

There was a very interesting article in The New York Times a couple of weeks ago by Michael Moss, the author of the newly released book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.


There’s lots of money at stake, and the snack food industry is heavily invested in keeping us eating more and more junk food–through the use of economics, chemistry and psychology.

So if you’re wondering why that Coke you’re drinking tastes so delicious, why we have skyrocketing rates of obesity and how on earth we became one of the fattest nations in the world, you need to understand the level of manipulation of our taste preferences.

If you’re interested in reading the whole New York Times article, know that it’s long.  Make a bowl of popcorn (the real stuff, not the microwaveable kind–unless you DIY) and get comfortable.  It’s a fascinating read in a cloak and dagger kind of way…  Here’s the story.

I don’t want to be manipulated.  I’m pretty sure that a choice between soda and a diet soda isn’t much of a choice.  And I don’t want to spend more to eat more, compromising the health of my family.

Here are 3 ways you can take control:

1.  Buy real food.  It’s the most important thing you can do. Choosing food that is as close to its natural state as possible means you can avoid all the “science” that creates frankenfood that doesn’t nourish us.

2.  Be a smart shopper.  Cruise the outer aisle of your grocery store. That’s where most of the real and minimally processed foods can be found. Steer clear of the displays at the aisle ends. They’re for high profit, heavily advertised items likely to be bought on impulse. Make a list and stick to it!

3.  Cook at home.  Using real food to cook meals at home allows you to control the flavor, freshness and nutritional content of the food your family eats.  You’ll enjoy your food more and save money to boot.

We already know we need to eat better, but even knowing that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  But it’s not hopeless either.  What do you think?