Thursday, September 21, 2017
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Week 17

“Why does that chocolate chip cookie have such power over me?... I spent seven years trying to figure out the answer.”-  Dr. David A. Kessler

 

Week 17

“Why does that chocolate chip cookie have such power over me?... I spent seven years trying to figure out the answer.”-  Dr. David A. Kessler

 


Alicia's Musing
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A month ago I was at a conference, and the presenter made this comment: “Hyper-palatability. Go home and Google it. You will be stunned at what you learn.”

I did. And he was right.

Hyper-palatable foods are big business. They are created by scientists who try to combine sugar, fat and salt in such a way as to make them irresistible – to our brain! So claims Dr. Kessler, who is a Harvard-educated pediatrician and former head of the American Food and Drug Administration.

Dr Kessler has written a book entitled: ‘The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite’ (Rodale). He believes that the food industry creates foods that zero in on our brain circuitry and stimulates our need to keep eating even when we are full.  These foods require little chewing with wonderfully creamy textures that melt in your mouth, like chocolate bars. “Dr Kessler isn’t convinced that food makers fully understand the neuroscience of the forces they have unleashed, but food companies certainly understand human behaviour, taste preferences, and desire. In fact, he offers descriptions of how restaurants and food makers manipulate ingredients to reach the aptly named ‘bliss point’.  Foods that contain too little or too much sugar, fat or salt are either bland or overwhelming.  But food scientists work hard to reach the precise point at which we derive the greatest pleasure from fat, sugar and salt.” (New York Times, June 23, 2009, How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains)

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am feeling just a little less critical of myself for craving those Snickers bars! Who knew this kind of ‘neuroscience’ was going on?! It is a relief to know that my brain is being ‘captured’ and manipulated by over-stimulating foods, rather than having no willpower. 

“Conditioned hyper-eating is a chronic problem that is made worse by dieting and needs to be managed rather than cured” says Dr. Kessler. Oh yes, Dr Kessler!

The solution? Just the awareness that I am being manipulated for gross profit, not my health, motivates me to avoid those foods. Plan your foods and know your triggers, is his answer. A good combination, I would say. 
     
     

A month ago I was at a conference, and the presenter made this comment: “Hyper-palatability. Go home and Google it. You will be stunned at what you learn.”

I did. And he was right.

Hyper-palatable foods are big business. They are created by scientists who try to combine sugar, fat and salt in such a way as to make them irresistible – to our brain! So claims Dr. Kessler, who is a Harvard-educated pediatrician and former head of the American Food and Drug Administration.

Dr Kessler has written a book entitled: ‘The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite’ (Rodale). He believes that the food industry creates foods that zero in on our brain circuitry and stimulates our need to keep eating even when we are full.  These foods require little chewing with wonderfully creamy textures that melt in your mouth, like chocolate bars. “Dr Kessler isn’t convinced that food makers fully understand the neuroscience of the forces they have unleashed, but food companies certainly understand human behaviour, taste preferences, and desire. In fact, he offers descriptions of how restaurants and food makers manipulate ingredients to reach the aptly named ‘bliss point’.  Foods that contain too little or too much sugar, fat or salt are either bland or overwhelming.  But food scientists work hard to reach the precise point at which we derive the greatest pleasure from fat, sugar and salt.” (New York Times, June 23, 2009, How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains)

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am feeling just a little less critical of myself for craving those Snickers bars! Who knew this kind of ‘neuroscience’ was going on?! It is a relief to know that my brain is being ‘captured’ and manipulated by over-stimulating foods, rather than having no willpower. 

“Conditioned hyper-eating is a chronic problem that is made worse by dieting and needs to be managed rather than cured” says Dr. Kessler. Oh yes, Dr Kessler!

The solution? Just the awareness that I am being manipulated for gross profit, not my health, motivates me to avoid those foods. Plan your foods and know your triggers, is his answer. A good combination, I would say. 
     


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