Processed foods that are laden with sugar, salt and fat are not good for us in the quantities that we typically consume them. We have known this for decades and the food companies have too. In the industry of engineered, processed food, it is all about the “Bliss Point,” — scientific food equations that propel us to reflexively grab a bag of chips, cookies, ice cream, pretzels, cheese, or even flavored yogurt. Apparently, the birth of engineered food started quite innocently.
This is how the story goes. In the early 1960’s, a graduate student dropped a few Fruit Loops into a cage with a laboratory rat that had just been well fed. Despite the lack of hunger, the animal gobbled up the fruit loops and searched for more.
When additional Fruit Loops were added, the little guy just kept devouring the sweet treat.
While Fruit Loops were in a more “primitive” form than they are today, the laboratory rodent couldn’t get enough. I’ve experienced this feeling! Have you too felt like a rat after eating a bag of chips almost unconsciously?
In economics, the Bliss Point is the “quantity of consumption beyond which any further increase in consumption becomes less satisfying.”
In business, it is the point where “wants and desires” have been satisfied and “more” doesn’t bring any more pleasure and can actually create boredom.
Although the same term is used by the processed food industry, the intent and outcome are different. With an intent to create highly palatable, or “optimized” taste, engineers use salt, sugar, and fat to create combinations that provoke us to not only eat more and more but to crave more and more. Ordinary consumers are paid to sit in rooms for hours where they sip, smell, touch, feel, swirl, and taste the product in question with all of their senses. Is color 23 better than color 67 or is color 23.7 better?
Sophisticated computer programs sift through the data to determine what will be attractive to the most customers. A mathematical map with seemingly infinite combinations is analyzed. We are hooked!
Hunger is not the issue here.
Finding just the right amount of palatability is totally independent of hunger.
Since the ingredients are inexpensive, the processed food, including fast food, is generally cheaper for consumers to purchase than the whole foods that are bodies were designed to thrive on. These laboratory-invented and assembly-line manufactured foodstuffs exploit our taste senses and are aimed at the opioid receptors in the brain, spine, and gut. It is important to note that these are the same opiate receptors stimulated by illicit drugs.
While salt, sugar, and fat are not illicit drugs, the birth of engineered food has fueled many of the health problems we are commonly encountering today.
Opponents claim that nobody is forcing people to purchase and consume these foods. That is true.
However, healthier choices are often not an option and I believe that it is imperative that we know what we are dealing with; we must understand the birth of engineered food. Throughout dental school and beyond, I kept a bag of Oreos under my car seat.
With almost a teaspoon of sugar per cookie, I never got full of or tired of these tasty morsels.
Now I know why!
START SOMEWHERE today eating more real food, that is, food that rots or sprouts after a few days. Increase your joy and vitality in life. You can do it. I will help you.