Obvious, overstated facts about food
- Blog Post by: James Lileks
- September 4, 2013 - 12:41 PM
Gorgeous day for a Fair, no? Ah well. Hope you got out of the office for lunch; it’s a perfect summer day. Or at least we’d think so, if Labor Day came later. See why I want Labor Day to come in the middle of this month? C’mon, this is the second day I’ve mentioned this, and no one’s proposed a law yet. Makes one doubt the power of the internet.
AIIIIEEEEe I still think you could get sued for these commercials.
2 SIGNS YOU’RE READING A LISTICLE BuzzFeed had a story yesterday titled “23 Insane Things You Should Probably Know About Snack Foods." Doritos were found to be incapable of distinguishing right from wrong, and thus absolved of responsibility? Because that’s “insane” as the term is commonly understood. Well, let’s look: turns out that grocery stores have designed their layout in order to make you buy things. SERIOUSLY. It’s like they’re using Jedi mind-tricks to make you buy soda; it’s right there when you walk in. One year they put huge bottles of vinegar in the same spot, just for fun, and people bought it and drank it. We’re powerless!
But getting their goods inside our grocery carts is only half the battle. These companies want us to buy their stuff again and again.
Yes. Yes, I imagine they do. Just as websites want us to visit their site again and again.
Frito-Lay, for example, has a research team of nearly 500 scientists dedicated to fine-tuning their snacks for maximum deliciousness (and addictive power).
Not literally addictive. “Wanting more of something you find delicious” is not an addiction. No one gets the shakes and cold sweats if they don’t get a Triscuit in time before they come down.
Cadbury’s scientists tested 61 different formulas to come up with the perfectly addictive Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper.
Amusing they should mention that; I bought a 12-pack a few weeks ago, in the Diet variety. I bought it because I had a vague memory that I didn’t mind it, and daughter liked it, and it was on sale.. Hadn’t bought any for a year, perhaps. That’s a rather imperfect form of perfectly addicting. You never hear anyone say “I didn’t buy cigarettes this week because they weren’t half-off.”
Studies show that salt is addictive in some of the same ways as cigarettes or hard drugs, and food companies pack it into their products in astonishing amounts.
Studies from as far back as 1991 show that salt activates the same neurological pathways that narcotics do, triggering the brain’s ‘pleasure center.’
Ergo it’s the same as heroin. Other things that activate the brain’s “pleasure center” range from “sex” to “balancing your checkbook,” if you’re anal-retentive.
And then there’s a lot about sugar, which can be avoided. Want to know how? Read the label. Eat less. There.
Next up, fat:
Fat’s allure is a little bit more complicated than salt or sugar. There are no taste buds on the tongue that specifically respond to it, but nonetheless it has been shown to trigger similar reactions to cocaine.
The fact that junk food could provoke this response isn't entirely surprising, says Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, M.D., the chair of the medical department at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, in Upton, New York.
"We make our food very similar to cocaine now," he says.
So the next version of “Breaking Bad” will have a guy making Fritos in his garage. Also:
Wang also cautions that applying the results of animal studies to humans can be tricky. For instance, he says, in studies of weight-loss drugs, rats have lost as much as 30 percent of their weight, but humans on the same drug have lost less than 5 percent of their weight. "You can't mimic completely human behavior, but [animal studies] can give you a clue about what can happen in humans," Wang says.
Although he acknowledges that his research may not directly translate to humans, Kenny says the findings shed light on the brain mechanisms that drive overeating and could even lead to new treatments for obesity.
Here’s the thing: I have two bowls of ice cream a week. Friday and Saturday night. I probably have ten potato chips every other day. About the only sugar I get comes from Raisin Bran in the morning. I look forward to my nightly bowl of greens more than anything, because I add some cheese and pepper. I have one can of diet soda after lunch. I could have more of all of these things, but choose not to. Don’t know much about cocaine addiction, but the phrase “nah, I’m good” probably doesn’t come up much in the course of a binge.
The biggest food company in the country, Kraft, was controlled by the biggest tobacco company, Altria (formerly Philip Morris) until 2007.
You can draw the delightful parallels yourself!
And if you’re as intellectually lazy as the author of the post, it’ll be easy. By “lazy” I mean Buzzfeed-strength lazy: stringing together words extracted from more substantial posts and putting a number and the word INSANE in the title. As well as “you.” But this is a site that also has 18 undeniable ways to know you’re becoming a grown up,” and you’re pretty sure the author is able to drink, marry, own property, and become a member of the Armed Forces, but is part of the demographic that believes “becoming” a “grown-up” isn’t about assuming new interests and responsibilities, but outgrowing juvenile concerns.
The tags on the piece: twenties, getting older, grown-ups, life, thirties, thirtysomething, twentysomething.
Thirtysomething. Sign #15: "Your experience shopping at Urban Outfitters has totally changed. You used to come here, like, once a week."
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