Thursday, February 21, 2013

Irresistible by Design and Science: Junk Food.

 The NYT (Feb 24, 2013) published "The Extraordinary Science of Junk Food," an article how over the years the food industry used sophisticated consumer studies to develop irresistible junk foods. Even the most health conscious people have hard time dealing with the temptation:
In 2011, The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that shed new light on America’s weight gain. The subjects — 120,877 women and men — were all professionals in the health field, and were likely to be more conscious about nutrition, so the findings might well understate the overall trend. [The researchers] found that every four years, the participants exercised less, watched TV more and gained an average of 3.35 pounds. The researchers parsed the data by the caloric content of the foods being eaten, and found the top contributors to weight gain included red meat and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and potatoes, including mashed and French fries. But the largest weight-inducing food was the potato chip. The coating of salt, the fat content that rewards the brain with instant feelings of pleasure, the sugar that exists not as an additive but in the starch of the potato itself — all of this combines to make it the perfect addictive food.
Food scientists and advertisers found a way to hack into our biology, exploiting the body's reliance on taste to provide quality nutrition. Nowadays, even pets started suffering from extra weight because their owners can't control the pets' diet.

tags: health, control, trade-off, problem, solution

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