The meeting had not gone as well as the organizers had hoped. According to three participants, the CEO of General Mills, Stephen Sanger, stood up after Mr. Mudd stopped talking. Under his expert leadership, General Mills had overtaken the cereal aisle plus other sections in the grocery store and Mr Sanger’s company had much to lose.
Yoplait had morphed breakfast yogurt into dessert with 24 grams of sugar (six teaspoons) per six-ounce serving.
The burden of engineered foods was already being revealed in the health of the nation and it was only 1999.
Mr. Sanger reminded the group that consumers were “fickle” and sometimes worried about sugar and at other times worried about fat. He said that General Mills had acted in a responsible manner by offering products to satisfy dieters with both options.
He said that people just want what tastes good and that was all that these businesses were doing — trying to sell tasty food.
They were right! We can’t “eat just one!”
We live in a world of grocery stores and restaurants that offer a tremendous array of exceptionally palatable foods that make it a cinch to overindulge.
Their allure can be summed up in just three words: salt, sugar, and fat.
While all three are essential elements in their natural forms, the potent, engineered combinations light up the addictive areas of our brains. Former Food and Drug Administration director, Dr. David A. Kessler, refers to this as “conditioned hypereating.” Consequently, our healthspan and joy in life can suffer.
Although the cause is rarely just one thing, consider these statistics regarding the health of the United States:
We were number one in 2016 in the category of per-capita pharmaceutical spending. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, we are number 43 in life expectancy at birth. Our healthspan has been calculated at 63 years, although our lifespan is about 79 years. Healthspan is the period of time that we feel and are free from a debilitating disease. It’s the gap between these two numbers that troubles and terrifies most people. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 70 percent of adults over the age of 20 are overweight or obese.
The truth is that much of the food we are surrounded with is really “to die for.” It affects people of all sizes, ages, and nationalities. Just because you don’t gain weight doesn’t mean that it is not affecting you. An estimated 15 to 20 percent of those with Type 2 Diabetes are thin. Being overweight is not always an issue if you are healthy and happy. This is termed “metabolically healthy obesity” and isn’t common or always permanent, according to Dr. Frank Hu, professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard University.
So what is your START SOMEWHERE? Because knowledge is power, becoming aware of what we are up against is the first step. Awareness fuels the development of strategies to tame the problem for good.
Join me tomorrow as we recap the week and explore simple ways to enhance joy and vitality.
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