Saturday, June 12, 2010

The food industry and you! Are you addicted yet? 

In their March 2010 the Scripps Research Study shows compulsive eating shares same addictive biochemical mechanism with cocaine, heroin abuse (see article).  Remember all those tobacco industry executives stating under oath that nicotine is not addictive?

I've suspected this for years but now we're seeing hard evidence and the culprits of course are high fat content and high sugar content, just like you find in most fast food joints and low priced foods including sodas, surprise, surprise.

The study reported that a diet of high-fat, high-sugar food led a group of rats to pursue obesity with passion. Offering the rats healthful food in place of the sweet and fatty stuff led only to hunger strikes.

The scientists studied the fat rats’ brains. They looked like a cocaine abuser’s: the animals were fiends, addicted to the core.

The solution?  Well this is America - so Scripps has developed a pill for people to pop!  This is based on ghrelin that the body produces naturally. Their quarterly Endeavor newsletter offers more insights.

Endeavor also talks to "evolution gone wrong" - “Sugar tastes good because our brains are tuned to detect sugar; fat tastes good because our brains are tuned to detect fat. Things that contain lots of sugar and fat are energy dense. Under conditions like those in which humans evolved, when food was scarce, the ability to identify these foods as preferred fuels, seek them out and eat them promoted survival. Unfortunately, in our current environment of plenty, the excess of such foods is making us sick. It’s evolution gone wrong.”

Statistically of Americans 20 years or older, more than two out of every three men and about 62 percent of women are overweight or obese. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2006, 295, 1549-1555).  For low income minorities it is even higher because they are more prone to buy low priced foods that are high in fats and sugars.  The healthcare costs and lost productivity costs and social costs of this are staggering.   Are we going to start charging the fast food industry for this, as we are doing for the tobacco industry?

Time to introduce legislation that limits the fat and sugar content of foods, place health warning labels on super high fat items, limit their portion sizes, and add a healthcare surcharge to those items to limit their purchase.  How many years do you think that is going to take;  five, ten, or fifteen?  I'd bet that we are headed there.

At least some folks in the food industry are starting to see their responsibility to offer good food options that are simple to prepare and satisfying and healthy:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?