Lately, while researching and writing my next book, I haven’t been able to put down the fascinating Salt Sugar Fat.. (Mostly, I’ve been listening to the book via CDs while en route to the gym, Whole Foods or bvusiness meetings. This book was so compelling that I’m now listening to all 12 CDs again.)
Frankly, I’m in awe of Moss and his investigative prowess. Over a period of three-and-a-half years, he interviewed hundreds of industry insiders, who revealed jaw-dropping, inside information about what our favorite food companies do to land space on grocery store shelves, crush the competition, boost the bottom line, please Wall Street, and influence our buying habits so we can’t pass up on foods with salt, sugar and fat.
For those of you, who find yourself frequently buying and eating certain processed chips, cookies or cereals, Moss sheds light on why this may be happening.
The captivating processed food substances you find on supermarket shelves “are knowingly designed—engineered is the better word—to maximize their allure,” Moss writes.
“Their packaging is tailored to excite our kids,” he continues.
“Their advertising uses every psychological trick to overcome any logical arguments we might have for passing the product by.”
Plus, their “taste is so powerful,” he writes, “we remember it from the last time we walked down the aisle and succumbed, snatching them up. And above all else, their formulas are calculated and perfected by scientists who know very well what they are doing.”
Indeed, those of you, who struggle to peel off pounds and hate that you can’t quit over-consuming your favorite sweet soft drinks, salty chips, or fatty cookies, you need to know that food scientists are actually using cutting-edge technology to calculate the “bliss point” and enhance the “mouthfeel” of your preferred foods so they’ll sell more, Moss explains.
Oh Goodness! Food Companies Call Big Buyers of Processed Foods “Heavy Users”
Perhaps one of the more scary revelations Moss makes in Salt, Sugar Fat is how the food industry regards its ardent customers.
In their board rooms and science labs, food industry insiders call you, their loyal buyers, “heavy users.”
No, I’m not talking about drugs, but, in light of recent food addiction research, that shows how the brain lights up on sugar as it does on cocaine, the term “user” is certainly apt.
And you wonder why your most intense, all-consuming, wild cravings for unnatural, packaged, sugary, salty, fatty foodstuffs swoop in on you often as if they were ravenous vultures waiting for their next dead prey to disembowel?
Sorry for the gross imagery, but as a former sugar-addicted journalist, my goal is not only to educate you, but to help you become strong, alert, and determined to lift your choose-healthy-food muscles when you’re at your favorite supermarket, as well as at drug stores, movie theaters and even hospitals..
If you eat while on the computer, watching TV or doing other things, this means there’s a good chance you’re over-indulging, too. (So found a variety of studies, which link distraction with mindless bingeing. A review of 24 studies drew that conclusion in the April 2013 edition of theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition.)
Now, more research published in Psychological Science reveals that doing mentally taxing tasks while you eat will make your food taste bland, too.
In other words, when you juggle too many things at mealtime, you just won’t enjoy or appreciate your food as much.
We don’t want meal time to be dull and unsatisfactory, right?
What’s more, scientists at the Institute for Psychological Research at Leiden University in The Netherlands discovered that when participants ate sour, sweet and salty substances while doing various tasks, they consumed more food and preferred stronger tastes.
In addition doing other things while eating makes your food tastes bland. Indeed, researchers found that an “increased task load reduces people’s taste perception by limiting attentional capacity to assess taste intensity and that people adjust their consumption accordingly.”
In short, the researchers believe that cognitive load may compete with sensory input for our attention.
But let’s focus on the good news, as pointed out by Scientific American’s Tori Rodriguez. Other studies have found you eat less when you pay mindful attention to your food and fully focus on the taste, armona and texture.
The important takeaway, as I see it, is that if you want to peel off the pounds, cut out multi-tasking at meal time.
Besides, as this new study reveals, you’ll enjoy your more, too.
So join me: Mindfully savor each morsel or swallow at each meal or snack.
Indeed, another study reveals sugar’s deadly dangers — even when consumed in “safe” amounts.
Talk about scary.
The mice died more often, as shared by Science Daily. Not only that, but they had fewer babies.
For the study, University
of Utah researchers gave mice a diet of 25 percent extra sugar and ran a
sensitive toxicity test. (When you give a mouse 25 percent extra sugar, it’s the equivalent of a healthy human diet, plus three cans of soda daily.)
Although the mice didn’t become obese, the females on the
sugar-added diet died at twice the rate of the control group. In addition, the males on the sugar-added diet produced 25 percent fewer offspring than
the control group and acquired fewer territories, according to a
University of Utah news release.
“These findings represent the lowest level of sugar consumption shown to adversely affect mammalian health,” states the study abstract, published today in the journal Nature Communications.
Does this finding scare you enough to make you want to quit sugar?
You, of course, know how easy it is to get hooked on sweets — and how incredibly challenging and difficult it can be to break free of your sugar addiction.
(In fact, because breaking free from sugar is so tough, I've devoted an entire book to take you on a fun, empowering journey so you can easily let go of your addiction. Beyond Sugar Shock — which will be published in June and which you can pre-order now — is designed to hold you by the hand and guide you to what I call Sugar Freedom.)
So since sugar is addictive, should this commonplace but potentially harmful (even deadly) substance be regulated?
They argue that sugar should be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health.
Indeed, Dr. Lustig, along with Laura Schmidt, Ph.D., Claire Brindis, D.P.H. and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), contend that sugar’s potential for abuse, coupled with its toxicity and pervasiveness in the Western diet, make it a primary culprit of this worldwide health crisis.
They maintain that sugar is fueling a global obesity pandemic, contributing to 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The authors then advocate taxing sugary foods and controlling sales to children under 17.
According to their statistics, reported on CBS New’s HealthPop, worldwide sugar intake has tripled in the last 50 years, and the average person is taking in a whopping 500 calories from added sugar in processed foods alone.
Note from Connie: Today, the Sugar Shock Blog presents a guest post from fellow writer/health coach/IIN grad Suzanne Boothby about new vending machines that healthier foods than you usually find. Full Disclosure: Suzanne is a spokesperson for HUMAN Healthy Vending, the company about which she is writing. In this instance, HUMAN stands for Helping Unite Man and Nutrition.
Snacking Made Easy & Healthier By Suzanne Boothby
There's been a lot of buzz recently about school nutrition and, in particular, the problem with junk-filled vending machines in schools.
"Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years," writes Dr. Oz Garcia in The Huffington Post. "Statistics show that nearly one in three American children are either overweight or obese."
Dr. Garcia points out that while parents play the most important role in teaching children healthy habits, the U.S. school system plays a very central part in developing a child's eating habits.
Another article on BusinessWeek, "School Vending Machines Undermine Student Nutrition," referenced a report from the Journal of Adolescent Health, showing the negative impact vending machine foods had on the purchasing choices of students at about 150 different U.S. schools.
More than 80% of the schools studied carried vending machines offering foods with minimal nutritional value, including chips, soda and candy bars.
Enter Sean Kelly and Andy Mackensen, co-founders of HUMAN Healthy Vending machines, which offer healthier fare in the 30-billion vending machine industry.
HUMAN Healthy Vending Machines offer foods that cater to various dietary needs, including those that look for foods that are 100% organic, no-sugar-added, gluten-free, allergen-free, low-fat and carb.
The new digitally interactive, eco-friendly Healthy Vending machines have some unique features. They display all ingredients via LCD before you purchase it. What this means is that you can select a product from a touch screen keypad, and then before you make your purchase, the machine shows you the nutritional info on that same touch-screen. Therefore, you don’t have to lose change by buying snacks that don't work for your particular diet.
In addition to providing healthier choices, HUMAN Healthy Vending machines include an eco-component with remote monitoring systems to ensure eco-friendly refilling. Plus, they contain LED lighting and energy-efficient refrigeration units to save power. In addition, the company donates 10% of proceeds to charitable causes that fight childhood obesity and malnutrition.
Comment from Connie: Special thanks to Suzanne for this blog post. These machines are a welcome development in our junk-food oriented society! These vending machines seem to contain something for everyone. Please note, however, that while these snacks are far healthier than what you find in traditional vending machines, not all of these foods are healthy by everyone's standards. So just follow your doctor's guidelines and eat what works for you. By the way, I'm thrilled with the feature that you can save yourself time and money by being able to check out the ingredients first via LCD screen. What a unique, cutting-edge feature!
This song makes me smile. I can't begin to remember how many times radio hosts have played this song before they interviewed me about my book Sugar Shock!
Please enjoy this. And of course, I'm not posting this to make you think about sweets (as in the sugary kind) but to think about having (non-sugary) sweetness in your life — something I invite you to find, get and create.
Thank to Michelle Obama’s crusade to combat children’s obesity, major food companies such as PepsiCo and Kraft Foods are changing their products.
She is, in fact, “defining defining her role as first lady by taking on the $600 billion food and beverage industries in a quest to end childhood obesity within a generation,” observes Kate Andersen Brower of Bloomberg Business Week, in an artticle entitled, “Michelle Obama’s ‘Spotlight’ on Obesity Enlists Kraft, PepsiCo.”
“Her lobbying of companies to make products healthier, labels easier to read and limit marketing of unhealthy foods to kids is paying off,” Brower observes.
A month after she began her campaign, “PepsiCo Inc., the world’s second-largest food and beverage company, pledged to stop selling full-sugar soft drinks in schools by 2012.” In addition, Kraft Foods Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Oscar Mayer lunch meats, jumped on board, announcing that it would further reduce the sodium content of its products..
Reporter Brower points out that the first lady’s efforts are part of a “movement to recast what the food industry is selling,” according to David Kessler, who was Food and Drug Administration commissioner from 1990 to 1997. “She puts the spotlight on the issue like few others can,” Kessler told Brower.
The American Beverage Association — which represents soda companies — has now joined Michelle Obama’s effort by running a national ad, which claims that the industry is committed to reducing beverage calories in schools by 88 percent.
Things started happening after a well-publicized meeting in Washington on March 16 when the first lady addressed members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents major food companies such as Kraft and PepsiCo. At that GMA meeting, Obama urged the companies to reduce sugar, fat and salt in their products and “to move faster and to go farther” to make them healthier.
The first lady has “accelerated our focus,” Kraft’s president of health and wellness, Rhonda Jordan, told the Bloomberg Business Week reporter Brower, who then quotes Patrick Basham, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based research group that promotes libertarian policies.
Basham believes that the first lady’s anti-obesity efforts are “in sync with public skepticism about `the motives of big business’ in the wake of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression.” He also believes that the recent moves by the companies may be an effort to prevent government crackdown.
“The food industry is terrified of being either legislated out of business or so regulated they won’t be able to do what they want,” Basham told Brower.
What’s intriguing is that Michelle Obama became concerned about child nutrition for personal reasons.
She told audiences at a National PTA Conference in Arlington, Virginia, on March 10, that she got a “wakeup call” when her pediatrician voiced concern about her family’s eating habits.
While I applaud the first lady’s efforts, as always, no matter what changes the large food companies institute, I encourage people to reduce or even eliminate their consumption of processed foods.
Vegetables and fruits that come courtesy of Mother Nature are best for our bodies. Plus, they taste better — something you’ll discover after you cut back on processed carbs.
We just don’t need to consume large quantities of packaged foods that usually have been extensively processed, with sugar, fat and salt added.
Many of us would-be, health-conscious people strive often (or at times) to cut culprit carbs and shove candies, cookies, cakes and chips out of our lives for our emotional or physical health.
But who can blame Tori Spelling, Kelly Ripa, Kim Kardashian, Eva Langoria Parker, Guy
Ritchie, Flavor Flav, Seth Green, Spencer Pratt and Kid Rock for using creative, elaborate cakes to memorialize major occasions?
My sugar-free — albeit sometimes jealous — funny bone nudges me to poke fun of this sugar-filled hoopla in this way: Well, let them eat cake!
(For the record, my comment was NOT intended to be malicious — it was my silly, sleep-deprived remark.)
Hey, sometimes you just have to laugh at — and accept — our nation's habit of celebrating events with sugar-filled cakes. Let's face it, this is a trend you just can't buck.
So I invite you to set some limits for yourself at your next beautiful cake-celebrated event. I urge you to have just one teeny, tiny piece — and to have it after a good meal with healthy foods (quality protein, healthy carbs such as veggies and a small amount of fat like olive oil). That's right, I challenge you to partake of one tiny slice!
Speaking of challenges, it can be a challenge to figure out how to observe important milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, bar mitzvahs, christenings and graduations without cute cakes.
So, now I'm presented with a challenge. Given that I don't eat sweets, how the heck should I celebrate my 12 years off sugar on April 15?
I invite your suggestions. Because frankly I'm at a loss! Please send in your ideas!
In case you're new to this Sugar Shock Blog and your'e wondering why I would want to pass up such delectable treats as those shown here, consider this: Would you rather suffer from 44 horrible ailments or skip the sweets and feel great?
That's the choice had to reluctantly make back in 1998, when my doctor ordered me to quit my sugar habit. To learn about my sad-to-sweet story, read it in Chapter One of my book SUGAR SHOCK!
If you're annoyed with me for unnecessarily enticing you, come join me tonight when low-carb blogger Jimmy Moore — who lost 180 pounds and kept it off, partly from cutting out cakes — and I tell you "The Top 10 Reasons You Failed to Lose Weight or Kick Sugar." Just sign up here. (If you can't make it live, you can listen to an audio replay later, for a limited time.)
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