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Deliciousness Overload | Processed Foods

Is it the lack of sheer willpower?

Or perhaps are we in such an emotional state that the automatism of your hand moving from and to your mouth fails to shut down when need we to try to push the emergency brake button?

Even when we know, we feel we had enough yet don’t know how to stop?

It feels like a vicious circle. Eating snacks, crisps or other sweet/salty delicacies while lounging in front of the television or being among family and friends. The temptation of having something to nibble on seems to be a far cry away right after enjoying a nutritious meal and feeling satisfied.

Just to round off the day with something to share. 

The food industry is a smart cookie. Besides strategically controlling the supermarket alleys, they know the inside out of the human mind. No, I am not saying stomach – I consciously write “mind”. 

This kind of spiking your appetite starts with the brain. You must agree that merely by the sight of delicious food, we often fall to its temptation. Our brain subconsciously already starts to signal down below that some goodies are coming, even when we are not hungry. Saliva volume increases, our pancreas is warming up to release insulin, and our stomach heats its inner core, destined to break down what falls into its acidic environment.

Welcome to the world of the hyper-palatable food industry.

The basics of processed food is that it is almost stripped bare from its original nutrients. Try to find a trace of strawberry in a gummy bear. good luck with that! Fun and easy to eat, and highly likeable. The nutrients in these processed foods are swapped with a plethora of extensive shelf-life ingredients with names we often cannot even pronounce. We ignore that even the price is just right to buy one bag (or when we get three for the price of two).

The food industry uses various techniques to ensure you buy and eat more. One of these processes food manufacturers use is called extrusion. During this process, grains are crushed, stripped bare-naked, and cooked to remove the majority of vitamins and enzymes. Just to get the base right to have it safe to eat two years after the manufacturing date.

Adding emulsifiers (creating that lush, rich, almost luxurious feeling when scooping up some ice-cream), flavour enhancers, colouring agents, and trans-fat solutions called hydrogenation (also for keeping products as long as possible consumable), and you have something you may be snacking on right now.

Through a blend of sugar, fat and salt, the food industry is targeting just those pleasure senses your brain adores. The salty aftertaste, the tingling sugary sweetness, and the voluptuous feeling of fat flowing through your mouth are those combinations that make food hyper-palatable. Combining these blends to perfection has a name: stimuli stacking. It is this combination that makes processed food so irresistible. And food manufacturers know this all too well. When it comes to encouraging people to overeat, two flavours are way better than merely focussing on one. 

Your willpower be put to the test if you make efforts to resist such comfort food. And I applaud those who can do so.

Once in a while, it is no big deal to go for it. Digging in a box of doughnuts or licking your fingers off after devouring a bowl of French fries is what we may crave. After all, food is more than the sum of its nutrients. Moments of social interaction and kicking your feet up after a hard day’s work are moments to cherish and enjoy. 

It is when regularly going full throttle and consuming calories 10 times that of dinner, then the results will appear. Or if these love handles are already showing, now is the time to get behind your ‘why’ and reach out for a free consultation call.

Health is wealth. Don’t let the hyper-palatable food industry turn your health markers into a downward spiral.

Perhaps more than any other, the food industry is very sensitive to consumer demand | Michael Pollan

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