In case you don’t have enough things to wonder and worry about, here’s something new to ponder: Why are there always so many new products at the grocery store, which seem specifically designed to sabotage our plans to eat better? If you’ve ever walked through any snack food, cereal, juice or soda aisle, you know exactly what I mean.
Usually when I go to the grocery store, I’m on autopilot. I know what I need, try to stick to my list, and just grab and get out. Recently though, I’ve been updating some handouts for work, checking product names, salt, sugar content, etc, so I’ve been browsing more than buying, and I can understand why consumers are so confused, and tempted by vast array of mostly unhealthy products out there.
I recently read Michael Moss’s new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. In it, he analyzes the history of America’s love affair with salt, sugar and fat, and describes the many ways that major food manufacturers manipulate the formulation of new products, to get us to buy and eat more of these unhealthy ingredients. If you’ve ever had a hard time saying NO to the Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos, or eating just one Lay’s Potato Chip, or you swear you’re addicted to Triple Double Chocolate Oreos, I highly recommend this book, as it will explain why it’s so hard to kick the habit.
Moss reveals through interviews with food industry insiders, how the major food manufacturers manipulate the chemistry of their products, so that consumers actually get “addicted” and keep coming back for more. Their food scientists use cutting edge technology to determine the “bliss point” of sugary drinks and high fat, salty snacks. If you’re what they refer to as a “heavy user” of their products, they know how to create foods that will keep you hooked, despite your best efforts to eat healthier.
Salt Sugar Fat won’t necessarily curb your cravings, but it will open your eyes to exactly what is on those grocery store shelves. Hopefully you’ll be angry enough to just say no!