The Food Companies have figured out how to make us overeat and our willpower goes out the window.
In his book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us,” Michael Moss delves into the tactics employed by food companies to create products that we can’t resist. The book highlights how the combination of salt, sugar, and fat has been used by food companies to make their products more appealing to consumers, and how this has contributed to the current epidemic of obesity and other health problems. In this article, we will explore the key ideas of the book and how they shed light on the way that food companies are manipulating us through our cravings.
One of the main points of the book is that food companies have become very skilled at using a combination of salt, sugar, and fat to create products that are almost irresistible to consumers. These ingredients stimulate our taste buds and trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure and reward. This makes us crave more of the food, even when we know it’s not good for us.
Moss explains that food companies spend billions of dollars on research and development to create products that are perfectly engineered to exploit our cravings. They use sophisticated techniques to find the exact balance of salt, sugar, and fat that will make their products as appealing as possible. For example, they might use a combination of salt and sugar to create a “bliss point” in a product, which is the perfect balance of these two ingredients to make it taste the best.
Another tactic that food companies use is called “sensory-specific satiety.” This means that our brains get tired of eating the same flavor or texture over and over again. So, food companies will create products with different flavors and textures that will keep us coming back for more. For example, they might use different types of sugar, such as fructose and sucrose, to create different levels of sweetness in a product. They might also add different types of fat, such as butter and vegetable oil, to create different textures and mouthfeel.
One of the most alarming things about the book is the way that food companies have used these tactics to create products that are incredibly unhealthy. Moss explains that the food industry has been a major contributor to the current epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. He notes that many of the products that food companies produce are high in calories, but low in nutrients. This means that we can eat a lot of these foods without feeling full or satisfied, which leads to overeating and weight gain.
Moss also explores the way that food companies have marketed their products to make them even more appealing to consumers. For example, they might use bright colors, catchy slogans, and attractive packaging to make their products stand out on store shelves. They might also use celebrities or other influencers to promote their products on social media or in advertisements.
Overall, Moss argues that the food industry has created a “food environment” that is almost impossible for consumers to resist. He notes that food is everywhere we go, from vending machines in office buildings to fast food restaurants on every street corner. He also points out that food is often cheaper and more convenient than healthier options, which makes it difficult for people to make healthy choices.
So, what can we do about this? Moss suggests that consumers need to be more aware of the tactics that food companies are using to manipulate us. We need to be more mindful of what we eat and try to choose healthier options whenever possible. We also need to be more vocal about our concerns and demand that food companies make healthier products.