Flavor Manipulations and Over Eating

Woman eating fajitas
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The entire food industry works overtime with flavor manipulations designed to keep us coming back for more and more. Is it any wonder that we have a growing problem with overeating and obesity nowadays?

Marketers of snacks, restaurants, and our grocery stores all employ food scientists whose sole function is to create flavors that keeps us hooked like drug addicts and their drug of choice. When you incorporate these manufactured flavors with sugars, fats, msg and other ingredients, the result is a losing battle for those who are fighting to lose weight. The food industry is stacking the odds high against you, but they can be beat. To beat them, you must arm yourself with knowledge, and then be willing to put in the work.

It may appear to you that we live in truly strange times when we have an abundance of weight loss programs, and supplements, yet we keep getting fatter by the day. We live in a culture where thinness used to be prized above most all else, now it almost seems like obesity has become contagious. When you understand that 95 percent of dieters fail, it appears as if we now have a diet resistant form of obesity – we don’t.

Obesity has become a most visible manifestation of a greater malaise where food has become a life threatening indulgence.  The processed foods we are surrounded by are causing our own bodies to continue to grow in girth, while also straining our organs, distressing our bowels and crashing our moods. Adult onset diabetes had to be renamed type 2 diabetes because so many of our children are now being diagnosed with what used to be considered a metabolic disease of adults. Once upon a time, we ate to sustain ourselves – what happened to that?

Three friends eating pizza
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Wants over Needs!

People are now turning to food more because they want something rather than because they are truly hungry. We want junk foods, we do not need them. The problem is, the line between good and poor nutrition has become blurred by flavor scientists who develop irresistible flavors that cause us to crave them. Flavor manipulations have led us to overeat all the wrong foods – nutrition has now taken a back seat to wants.

As the world population has increased, so has the science to increase crop yields and meat production. In 1968 Stanford University Professor Paul R. Ehrlich wrote a book he titled “The Population Bomb”. In this book, Ehrlich predicted worldwide famine in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation, as well as other major societal upheavals. Professor Ehrlich pushed for immediate action to limit population growth. Population growth and keeping us fed has been a legitimate concern that has existed since the 1950s.

The result of these concerns has been increased yields, while flavor and nutrition have actually decreased. Just ask any elderly family member or friend if food is as flavorful as it was at one time and see what they have to say if you do not believe this. The problem with flavor in foods of today over yesterday is one of flavor manipulation through chemicals and spices that hide the blandness that has occurred since yields have increased. As food has become blander, we now have a plethora of palatants to make it taste just like we want it to. Is it any wonder we overeat when we can manipulate flavors so easily?

There are Consequences!

Through science of flavor manipulations, scientist create flavorings by tons. It is not rocket science that synthetically flavored food is not the same nutritionally as natural, whole foods. Nowadays, when we encounter bland foods, we make them palatable by dressing them up with condiments, spices, and dressings. In the case of processed foods from restaurants and grocery stores, you can bet if not for added palatants, most of them would not be fit for consumption.

As humans, we have been endowed with a sophisticated system that performs the most essential task – getting important nutrients into our body. We enjoy eating. However, by manipulating our richest and most direct source of pleasure, our relationship with food has become warped. Most people now want food because it tastes good rather than eating for basic sustenance and fuel. Evolution may have provided us with an amazing sense of smell and taste, but we were not made for cheap calories and egregious flavor lies. Over the last few decades, we have taken a system designed to bring our bodies to a state of nutritional completion and turned it against ourselves. Look around and see for yourself. Sixty eight percent of western society now have a problem with overeating and their weight.

Apple being injected with chemicals
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Flavor Manipulation Works Against Satiety

When you reach your hand into a bag of chips, are you able to stop with only one? Or do you keep gobbling down more of them? If we are being honest, all of us who have ever had weight concerns have had regret over continuing to eat past the point of satiety. We tend to overeat simply because we can not satisfy our body. It is only when we make healthy food choices that we feel complete by not overeating. Feeling nutritionally complete and properly fueled is different than being stuffed with junk food choices.

Of course eating should be a source of pleasure. Who wants to eat something that does not taste good, right?  The problem is, highly palatable foods have the capacity to stimulate the appetite and prompt us to eat more. They tend to be sugary, fatty, and salty. The better tasting the food, the more we will eat. Palatable food tends to activate the reward circuits in the brain and which stimulates our appetite. Through flavor manipulation, it has become too easy to over eat.

Of course we have a problem with food science and manipulations to increase yields and make blander foods more palatable. But, I do not want to  make anyone believe there is anything malevolent occurring in the food industry. We have a huge population to feed, and as it increases worldwide, the problem is not going away anytime soon. Food growers are not evil, they are dealing with the same problems they always have since the beginning of time. They have to create crops that are hearty and big enough to not get wiped out by insects or crop diseases. But, what we the people also have to do, is quit demanding cheap, processed foods of convenience and get back to the basics of cooking whole foods for ourselves. We have to quit placing our wants over our needs for the obesity epidemic to go away.

What you have to do is to understand the nature of food production and make choices of nutritional foods over those of convenience and perceived affordability. You have free choice, but you are not free from the consequences of your choices.

 

Tips to Stop Overeating!

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