Tuesday Weigh-In: Some Foods…

…just are not your friend.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to eat…and have a major sweet tooth. Hence devouring an entire box of girl scout cookies in one sitting over the weekend. Yea, I know. Well in any event, I worked out super hard this past week – longer runs, double workout day on Sunday, and the result?

Lost 1.4 lbs.

On the one hand…YAY! Weight loss! On the other hand…I could have done better.

But either way, I’m ok with the results because I’m just happy that I’ve noticed a rekindling of my love for running. *happy dance* Though it must be said that what I am and am not eating when I’m not paying attention is lightweight interfering with my efforts to be healthier. Some foods are just hard to say no to. Others, we run to when we are feeling a certain emotion. Others still should just not be trusted, as in…you can’t have just one – now, why is that? 

Enter this article I came across this morning courtesy of The New York Times Magazine. It’s a little lengthy, but it basically goes into some of the efforts that major food companies have gone through to make junk food addictive and hard to resist. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

According to the sources I spoke with, Sanger began by reminding the group that consumers were “fickle.” (Sanger declined to be interviewed.) Sometimes they worried about sugar, other times fat. General Mills, he said, acted responsibly to both the public and shareholders by offering products to satisfy dieters and other concerned shoppers, from low sugar to added whole grains. But most often, he said, people bought what they liked, and they liked what tasted good. “Don’t talk to me about nutrition,” he reportedly said, taking on the voice of the typical consumer. “Talk to me about taste, and if this stuff tastes better, don’t run around trying to sell stuff that doesn’t taste good.”

Wow, right? But I can’t be fully mad, because food is a business to these folks. And what the public demands, is what they will provide, right? Ugh. Here’s another gem:

…“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.

And there you have it. There are foods that are actually manufactured to be enjoyable in taste, but not too enjoyable so that you want to stop. It’s like middle of the road satisfaction. It makes sense though. Ever wonder why doritos always kinda have you coming back for more? Even though you could stop…eh you could eat a few more…right? Wrong.

When I asked Geoffrey Bible, former C.E.O. of Philip Morris, about this shift toward more salt, sugar and fat in meals for kids, he smiled and noted that even in its earliest incarnation, Lunchables was held up for criticism….

The prevailing attitude among the company’s food managers — through the 1990s, at least, before obesity became a more pressing concern — was one of supply and demand. “People could point to these things and say, ‘They’ve got too much sugar, they’ve got too much salt,’ ” Bible said. “Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.” (Bible would later press Kraft to reconsider its reliance on salt, sugar and fat.)

And the article just goes on, but you get the point. Please take a minute to read it. The bottom line is that if you’re going to talk about being healthy, if I’m going to talk about being healthy, then it really needs to be said that the foods we love just do not love us back. Like…at all. Not even a little. Not even on holidays. Not even when no one is looking. Zero love…mad calories though. And it really pisses me off, you know? Reason being, is because it is so very easy (and cheap) to eat poorly – and the food industry makes it all to easy and appealing to do so. Of course, those who don’t know better or frankly don’t care, will continue to eat as they have. But those who want to know more and do better? Well it is just work and preparation and planning. It’s a lil rough to do, but I guess when you think of the long term benefits of feeding yourself the right things, you’re better of taking the healthier road.

Here’s to knowing better and doing better. 😉 Till next time!

real-food

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