I read a really interesting article in the New York Times Magazine (on-line) this morning about why processed food is so addictive. It’s a lengthy article but well worth the read. If you’ve got the time, please read it.
If you don’t have time to read it, here are a few teasers:
- the food industry has been likened to the tobacco industry
- Yoplait yogurt – has twice as much sugar per serving as General Mills’ marshmallow cereal Lucky Charms (this would be a good reason to make your own yogurt or buy plain and add syrup, jam or honey)
- “What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.”
- There is a guy who studied math and has a Ph.D in experimental psychology that “optimizes” food.
- Food engineers alter everything from taste to color to texture to who knows what and consumers are paid to “test” the products.
- Computer models and statistical programs are set up to analyze data provided by the consumer testers to find out what combination of ingredients/colors/textures etc. people are most likely to buy
- the secret to a successful junk food is to create recipes (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“.
- the history of lunchables is interesting (and disturbing) and I love the line “when in doubt, add sugar” (you’ve really got to read the full article!).
- processed foods require weeks or months of transport and storage before they arrive at the store. Gross!
- Frito-lay has invested millions to perfect “crunch”
- It’s “more efficient” for soft drink producers to get existing fans to drink more than to bring on new fans.
Good for me, I nibbled on carrots as I read that instead of chocolate-chip cookies.