What do you think about food deliberately made to be addictive? (1 Viewer)

superchuck500

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Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to control consumption of certain products (like sugary drinks) that he believes contributed to America's obesity problem raises some important questions about how to balance the daily liberties we all expect in America against a widespread problem that implicates a range of important issues such as healthcare costs, performance in schools, and the quality of the labor force.

But what do we do when we know that these products (soft drinks, junk food, fast food) actually pay a lot of money as they forever chase in their laboratories the optimum formula that capitalizes on how our brains react to flavor and ingredients with the goal of making food addictive?

In other words, in the interest of corporate profits (there is no other legitimate interest at play here), these manufacturers are selling chemically manipulated products that make it harder for consumers to stop consuming them once they have started. This only adds to the will-power required for consumers to break the cycle and stop eating these damaging and unhealthy foods - especially when consumed in large quantities, which is exactly what the labs are trying to encourage.

A recent investigative piece in the New York Times (lengthy article cited below) sheds light on this idea and I think it's something we really need to consider. After all, what ultimately took down the tobacco companies' in litigation was their knowledge and concealment of the addictive nature of nicotine (and the efforts they made to increase this addictiveness). Well, manufacturers of junk food are doing to same thing . . . often admitting it.

The real challenge for us, IMO, is how to address intersection between expected business behavior in the free marketplace and legitimate public health concerns that may require consumers to overcome high-tech science designed to defeat their will power. So what do you think?

From the article, this idea of "bliss point" is just one example of how the flavor of most manufactured food is studied and manipulated by chemical formula to make a product that triggers consumption without triggering the brain's natural response to stop eating:

I first met Moskowitz on a crisp day in the spring of 2010 at the Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan. As we talked, he made clear that while he has worked on numerous projects aimed at creating more healthful foods and insists the industry could be doing far more to curb obesity, he had no qualms about his own pioneering work on discovering what industry insiders now regularly refer to as “the bliss point” or any of the other systems that helped food companies create the greatest amount of crave. “There’s no moral issue for me,” he said. “I did the best science I could. I was struggling to survive and didn’t have the luxury of being a moral creature. As a researcher, I was ahead of my time.”

Moskowitz’s path to mastering the bliss point began in earnest not at Harvard but a few months after graduation, 16 miles from Cambridge, in the town of Natick, where the U.S. Army hired him to work in its research labs. The military has long been in a peculiar bind when it comes to food: how to get soldiers to eat more rations when they are in the field. They know that over time, soldiers would gradually find their meals-ready-to-eat so boring that they would toss them away, half-eaten, and not get all the calories they needed. But what was causing this M.R.E.-fatigue was a mystery. “So I started asking soldiers how frequently they would like to eat this or that, trying to figure out which products they would find boring,” Moskowitz said. The answers he got were inconsistent. “They liked flavorful foods like turkey tetrazzini, but only at first; they quickly grew tired of them. On the other hand, mundane foods like white bread would never get them too excited, but they could eat lots and lots of it without feeling they’d had enough.”

This contradiction is known as “sensory-specific satiety.” In lay terms, it is the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm the brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more. Sensory-specific satiety also became a guiding principle for the processed-food industry. The biggest hits — be they Coca-Cola or Doritos — owe their success to complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/m...cience-of-junk-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&
 

rob22278

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Although not considered 'junk food,' I'm convinced that sushi has addictive additives in it. Maybe it's the wasabi...:scratch:
 

Trey W.

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Just one more reason that a lot of education is needed when it comes to these types of foods. Don't get me wrong, will power and the want to be fit has to be there but the food industry is at fault in a lot of ways.
 

wizard1183

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The reason junk food is addictive and caused obesity is because its cheap is it not? That will never change. Until they make it where it'll cost more to buy junk food than healthy foods it'll always be and that's pretty far fetched to say it'll ever change.
 
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superchuck500

superchuck500

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The reason junk food is addictive and caused obesity is because its cheap is it not?
No, I don't think that's why it is addictive. That's why most of the population has access to it. That's perhaps why more expensive alternatives may not be as appealing to such large numbers.

There's a difference between market-based behavior based on cost and actual physiological brain behavior that is deliberately manipulated by the food manufacturer to make the brain want to eat more.

Those aren't the same thing at all - so when we know they're doing that and paying a lot of money in labs to achieve those flavors, I don't think it's correct at all to say "well as long as this food is cheap, it will be addictive."
 

JimEverett

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Its an interesting question.
The fact that the UCC brought down big tobacco still seems funny to me.

If food companies are putting substances in food that somehow increase an addictive effect of the food then they should pay just like big tobacco.
 

donato

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I think it's ok as long as the addictive element isn't relatively harmful in itself. Somewhat questionable from an ethical standpoint no doubt, but big companies are out there to make big money.
 

Oye

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It will remain this way as long as the propaganda machine has you focused on this



instead of this

Let's say you wanted to make a chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake at home - what do you need? Cream, sugar, chocolate, flour, eggs, vanilla, butter, salt.

Now, buy the same item at Baskin Robbins: you're looking at over 50 ingredients in that shake, and that's aside from the calories and fat

50 ingredients in a milkshake

:boggle:
 

Dre

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Its an interesting question.
The fact that the UCC brought down big tobacco still seems funny to me.

If food companies are putting substances in food that somehow increase an addictive effect of the food then they should pay just like big tobacco.
But what if that substance is just salt?
 

JimEverett

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But what if that substance is just salt?
Salt would not do it.

Pretty much everything you eat has salt.

I am talking about substances no one would expect to be in something.

People expect all sorts of things to be in food: the main ingredients, preservatives, coloring agents, etc. No one expects a chemical designed to increase the addictive nature of salt, for instance.
 

SaintJ

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You'd think that instead of focusing on additives, they'd be lobbying like mad for the legalization of pot....
 

Lurkaholic

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Although not considered 'junk food,' I'm convinced that sushi has addictive additives in it. Maybe it's the wasabi...:scratch:
99.9% of the wasabi you get in American sushi restaurants is regular horseradish that has been dried, powdered, dyed green, and then reconstituted. So if you find horseradish addictive, maybe?



(This is not a slam on American sushi, btw, it's just how things work due to how real wasabi grows)
 

FLIPPY

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The reason junk food is addictive and caused obesity is because its cheap is it not? That will never change. Until they make it where it'll cost more to buy junk food than healthy foods it'll always be and that's pretty far fetched to say it'll ever change.
By junk food I assume you're talking about fast food.... Taking the family out to eat fast food is a lot more expensive than eating home every night....
 

Dre

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Salt would not do it.

Pretty much everything you eat has salt.

I am talking about substances no one would expect to be in something.

People expect all sorts of things to be in food: the main ingredients, preservatives, coloring agents, etc. No one expects a chemical designed to increase the addictive nature of salt, for instance.
But that's not what the article talked about. Salt was the major one, but food texture (they have figured out how crunchy to make Cheetos in order to make the brain think you aren't full) and multiple flavors (e.g. Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper) are also contributing factors.
 

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