Weight Loss Support - 8 ways the food industry can hijack your brain




JayEll
07-10-2009, 08:19 PM
This is an interesting slide-show format article about how calories get packed into foods and how they are crafted and designed to make consumers overeat.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31832558/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/?pg=1#Health_Rodale_Hijackbrain

Fat, fat, and more fat! :fr:

Jay


seagirl
07-10-2009, 08:24 PM
But is anyone eating those foods and thinking they are healthy? :dizzy:

The food industry can't hijack your brain if you aren't eating processed, store bought crap to begin with. There are no hidden layers of fat in veggies. No injections of fat into meats that come from your local farm. No sugars or additives in bread you made yourself, or bought from your local bakery.

Just because "the food industry" put this stuff out there, it is still individual people one by one making the choice to eat at Friday's or Ruby Tuesday's or Cheesecake Factory instead of at home or at a place where the food is clean and unprocessed.

We are not helpless victims of an evil food industry.

JulieJ08
07-10-2009, 08:25 PM
Great topic. But this is just me, I cannot stand loading page after page for little bits of info at a time, so I skipped this incarnation of it.


nelie
07-10-2009, 08:27 PM
I am currently reading "The End of Overeating" of which that article is based.

kiramira
07-10-2009, 09:29 PM
:rofl:

Man this topic pops up SO many times, and we all hash it to death! There are those who will believe that the government, corporate America, and lobby groups conspire together to enslave the people in a fat prison.

Others believe that they have FREE CHOICE in the matter, and that it actually IS possible to buy fruits and vegetables and healthy food and to control their hands that hold the forks.

I am NOT a slave to corporate America, whose wiley ways are "tricking me" into going to Hardees and ordering the double bacon cheeseburger because I believe that they have said that they are healthy...I am NOT obliged to go to IHOP and have the towering quadruple pancake with chocolate chips and whipped cream...I don't HAVE to go for takeout 4 nights a week.

Articles like this remove the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL and move it to the nameless, faceless "corporate entity" -- "I'M not responsible for my excess pounds because corporate America TRICKED me into eating them". I think I'll SUE the blighters because my A$$ is huge...

Last time I checked, no one ordered Buffalo Wings with a gun to their head.

Last time I checked, the food police didn't show up at my home and arrest me for not eating potato skins.

Nobody held me down and force-fed me chips and salsa and Marguireitas at my local Mexicali Rosa's.

I as an individual have the RIGHT to choose what I eat. And I choose the consequences. It isn't corporate America's fault! I OWN THIS. Nobody else. Just me.

JMHO, but still laughing!

Thanks for the link!

Kira

murphmitch
07-10-2009, 09:44 PM
Articles like this remove the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL and move it to the nameless, faceless "corporate entity" -- "I'M not responsible for my excess pounds because corporate America TRICKED me into eating them". I think I'll SUE the blighters because my A$$ is huge...


I agree eating certain foods on the menu are a no-brainer for fat and calories. But on the other hand, when you order grilled chicken you don't expect it to be injected with sugar. Or when you order a steak, you don't tell the waiter to bathe it in butter as I've heard some restaurants do. You can direct the waiter to prepare your food without added fats or sauces, but if it comes to the restaurant already semi-prepared this way, the consumer who thinks they're eating healthy can be in for a surprise. :( I expected the saline injections in some chicken breasts, but I'm unhappy with the thought that it might contain sugar also. I'm glad I prepare most of my meals at home.

kiramira
07-10-2009, 09:50 PM
Actually, I EXPECT my meal to be not what I ordered and/or not exactly as described. I don't trust what is sold to me AT ALL because I'm not in the kitchen making it myself.

When I go out, I make the best choices that I can, and accommodate for it within my meal plan. I don't go out and seriously believe that grilled chicken is grilled without oil or stuff that I don't know about, or that the veggie kebabs aren't marinated in sugar, vinegar and oil, or that the "lite cake" is REALLY light in calories. Even if I special order. If I'm NOT in the kitchen, I'm not privy to EXACTLY what is going on. I have to trust that it is done correctly, and I guess I'm just not that trusting because I DON'T BELIEVE THAT CORPORATE AMERICA GIVES A FLYING FIG ABOUT WHAT I WANT. And NOONE looks after my OWN BEST INTERESTS than ME.

So I choose as best I can, enjoy myself, and if there is a bump UP the scale, I deal with it. Because I EARNED it. Because I CHOSE to eat in an environment where I couldn't be 100% certain that what I wanted was what I got. IT. WAS. MY. CHOICE.

JMHO

Kira

thisisnotatest
07-10-2009, 10:06 PM
We all vote with our dollar. As more and more people start to care about the low quality of the of food that they are purchasing, they will then start to demand better quality for themselves and their families. Once the market for crap fades, the industry will (and can) change overnight.

JayEll
07-10-2009, 10:19 PM
My only point in posting the link was for education, not to start a riot.

I don't think it takes away from anyone's personal responsibility to point out that foods may not be what they seem. I think if people knew more about this, they would make different choices. But you can't make different choices if you don't know. Not everyone does know this stuff. I didn't until a few years ago.

Jay

kiramira
07-10-2009, 10:22 PM
So, like, did my BUTTON get SERIOUSLY PUSHED!?!

Sorry about that...:o

Seriously, thanks for the link!

It will be taken in the spirit in which it was posted!

And it IS disgusting how the frankenfoods out there are marketed and served up steaming hot. I think the photos especially tell a horrid story.

:hug:

Kira

kaplods
07-10-2009, 10:49 PM
I don't think that the information absolves anyone of responsibility, but that doesn't mean the information isn't valid. Being more aware of these practices though does give a person more information to make better choices (unless they choose to ignore or misuse the information).

I don't believe that there's a conspiracy, or that food companies need to be "blamed." I don't think anyone, including myself needs to be blamed in order to make changes. Knowing what has to change, doesn't mean I have to beat up myself or anyone else for having failed previously.

Food companies need to make a profit (who doesn't). They're not our babysitters, mommies, nannies or grandmas, and don't and won't care about our health unless there's profit in it. Ultimately it's a consumer driven economy. Many fast food restaurants have tried and failed to provide healthier alternatives, but while customers say they want healthier foods, often when they're available they don't sell (because they don't taste as good, to the cultural, and perhaps partially biologically determined palate).

The information is valid, and is just one more tool if used rationally (and not only as a way to make food companies the scapegoat). Whether it's a food corporation or a grandma (or anyone) creating a recipe in the kitchen, some ingredients, flavors and flavor combinations are easier to overeat. There's nothing "wrong" with knowing that, or sharing that information.

Many of the techniques for making food taste "better" to the broadest range of people has traditionally meant adding sweetness, saltiness, texture, flavor enhancers.... that's not top secret information.

But knowing that food companies (and grandmas) do this, doesn't mean we've got to tar and feather grandma or the CEO of McDonald's.

I don't believe that's what the article or the book is saying. Information is power, and knowing the techniques that are used (in mass production or in a family kitchen) to make food more appealing can be used in reverse to solve the problem.

I recently learned that people tend to eat more when more flavor options are available, such when food is accompanied by a variety of condiments such as dipping sauces. That's information that I can use just as easily as any restaurant. A restaurant may choose to serve food with a variety of condiments available to encourage you to eat more. I can use the same knowledge to limit my choices at a meal so that I feel satisfied with less.

I think sometimes people don't want to hear the information because "it gives people excuses," which I think is nonsense. Information is power, and knowing what factors cue appetite can be very helpful in controlling it. I think that some people think there's virtue in white knuckling it, whereas anything you learn that makes your job easier is knowledge well earned.

Reading the article or the book, a person could decide they're helpless because they're a victim of food advertising and marketing. I don't think most people's logic is that flawed. Rather, a person properly using the information, would now be aware of more of the factors that make overeating easier, and by being aware could learn to avoid or compensate for those factors.

Only in the last couple hundred years, and for the most part only in the last fifty years, have we had such a food surplus. Most critters will overeat when food is overly abundent, but because of competition with others of their own and other species, overabundance really is never a natural state. Generally overpopulation occurs before widespread obesity. It's also not a natural state to have food so easily available. Animals and people primitive societies didn't have to "work out," because they had to work to get food (or in order to avoid becoming food).

You can use that as an "excuse," or you can work to make your life at least imitate the natural world to a greater degree. You don't have to go out in the woods with a sharp stick to hunt/gather, but you can find ways to better imitate a natural diet and a natural activity level.

JulieJ08
07-10-2009, 11:15 PM
Articles like this remove the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL and move it to the nameless, faceless "corporate entity" -- "I'M not responsible for my excess pounds because corporate America TRICKED me into eating them". I think I'll SUE the blighters because my A$$ is huge...

I as an individual have the RIGHT to choose what I eat. And I choose the consequences. It isn't corporate America's fault! I OWN THIS. Nobody else. Just me.

To use a wise woman's strategy:

"Yeah, you're probably right."
"I KNOW!!! Isn't it CRAZY!!!"

:)

kiramira
07-10-2009, 11:20 PM
Yeah, I know I ranted. I apologized for it above! Maybe I should edit my rant posts by adding a "WARNING! Inappropriate RANT to follow! Read at own RISK!!!

:lol:

Kira

JulieJ08
07-10-2009, 11:25 PM
Yeah, I know I ranted. I apologized for it above! Maybe I should edit my rant posts by adding a "WARNING! Inappropriate RANT to follow! Read at own RISK!!!

:lol:

Kira

Yeah, I know, and I don't even think you needed to, even though I don't agree (entirely) with your POV. I was just feeling a little silly :)

kiramira
07-10-2009, 11:25 PM
:hug:
Kira

time2lose
07-10-2009, 11:28 PM
:cp::cp::cp::cp: kaplods

I loved your post.

EZMONEY
07-11-2009, 12:22 AM
My only point in posting the link was for education, not to start a riot..

Jay

Oh pleeezzzz....you set it all up ;)

I am capable of making my own decisions good and bad...

What I want is the "truth" from the places I eat at...that's all...just the true calorie count...ingredients...

I will deicde for me what I want!

Just the truth (facts) ma'am!

Tai
07-11-2009, 01:20 AM
Jay El,

I appreciate you sharing this post. I'm embarrassed to say that it was a bit of an eye opener for me. I still find even in maintenance that there is a lot left for me to learn.

The part that really resonated with me was the section on "adult" baby food. Nearly all the food I ate prior to losing weight fell into this category. Easy to chew with very little fiber.

I'm going to reserve this book at the library, so my thanks to Jay Ell.

Tealeaf
07-11-2009, 02:42 AM
I have doubts about one of the assertations of the article. They show what appears to be KFC grilled chicken, and they say the stuff isn't a good option. Good compared to something you make yourself at home? Probably not. Good compared to the options on the menu? Let's see. According to the KFC website, an orginal recipe leg and thigh will set you back a total of 370 calories. The same in grilled clocks in at 210. Say I decide to make a meal of it and round it out with green beans and corn on the cob (the half cob size) and a diet coke. This would add another 95 calories (beware the biscuits, they're a heavy 180 calories each). So, for two piece dark, green beans, corn and soda, I'm choosing between meals that are either 465 calories or 305.

I don't think that 305 calories for a full restaurant meal is excessive in the calories department. It's probably higher in sodium than I would make at home, but that's pretty much a given for any fast food.

Sorry if I seem to be obsessing about this one issue, but it calls into question for me the whole premise of the article. I assume the agenda of the food industry is to sell more and improve their bottom line. What is the agenda of the writer? To generously help me with my weight issues, or to drum up interest in their book and hopefully improve their bottom line?

Just because a list on the web says "this is bad!" doesn't mean that it is correct on that issue.

mandalinn82
07-11-2009, 04:20 AM
I have talked to many people who think that a burger bought at a fast food enterprise is pretty much the same as a burger they make with 80/20 beef at home. Even more people than that assume that ordering the "grilled chicken" at a restaurant is the same as grilling a piece of chicken at home. People who are educated about food, the restaurant industry, nutrition, etc. know about the higher levels of fat/salt/sugar.

For me, articles like this aren't about absolving responsibility. They are about giving people the information they need to TAKE responsibility in a way that will work them toward their goals. Someone can be trying to make healthy choices, and really not know that McD's grilled chicken sandwich isn't as healthy as a piece of grilled chicken on a bun cooked in their own home...without that knowledge, they believe that they are are making a healthy choice. No one is shoving the food down their throat...but no one is giving them the tools and knowledge to make better choices, either. The nutrition education in our schools is really poor, and parents aren't passing health and nutrition information onto their kids, either because they don't have the knowledge or because they have unhealthy habits themselves.

By getting the information out there, the author is giving the reader the information to make healthier choices, and maybe that preliminary exposure to the food industry's less-savory practices will cause them to do more research into the industry, nutrition, etc, which might eventually lead to them opting out of the processed food system for more whole foods. But articles like this are a first step TOWARD this goal, not a step away from responsibility, in my opinion. No one is saying "Sue the food companies! They're forcing you to eat crap!". They're saying "Hey, be aware of this, so you can go into restaurant eatings with your eyes wide open". And to me, that's a positive thing.

Tealeaf
07-11-2009, 04:57 AM
Helping people to become informed is a great thing. I'm all in favor of it. I just don't think that peddleing the notion that food industry is trying to trick people into getting fat is in fact education. Sure, they want our dollars. Sure, they prepare their wares in such a way that entices us to buy more. They are doing it to make money, nothing more, and nothing less.

The "information" that restaurant grilled chicken is a bad choice is just plain wrong, in my opinion. The nutrional values I looked up and posted just don't suppport the idea that the chicken is pumped full of a mixture of sugar and oil. The author of the article is at the very least overstating the danger here.

JayEll
07-11-2009, 07:42 AM
I think that the chain restaurants, fast food outlets, etc. are selling food.

To sell food, they try to make it more appealing so that people will buy it and eat it.

They do so by processing it and preparing it in certain ways to enhance flavor.

There is nothing morally wrong in this.

However, for people who make these places their regular stop for meals--even if only twice a week, say--and who don't know what's in what they are ordering, the result seems often to be increased weight.

When I was younger, eating at a restaurant wasn't that much different from eating at home, except mom didn't have to cook and you could get unusual foods that mom didn't prepare. Things have changed since then. There was no flash-frozen, pre-cooked, etc. There weren't nationwide chains particularly, either. I remember when McDonalds opened in our town. (Never mind what that implies about my age!)

Also, there were no nutritional labels on cans and packages. And obviously, no internet where you could look up nutritional information.

My mom used to can vegetables and fruits from my grandparents' truck farm. It was a mess! I once asked her, "Why do you go to all this trouble when you can just buy canned food at the store?" I was young; she laughed. But that was when canned food was probably all pretty much the same. Not so, now.

I know many people want to eat more healthy foods. But still, I do not think the answer is for mom to have to cook all the time, to have to grow her own food, to spend time processing those fresh-picked vegetables (which if you've ever had to do it, is a pain!), or to have to take up canning (also a pain!).

I think it's a matter of being informed about the food choices. Information is available now. I remember the first time I looked up the nutritional information for McD's. Serious shock! And KFC would never have introduced grilled chicken if consumers hadn't demanded it in the form of voting with their dollars, as another poster pointed out.

Thanks for reading.

Jay

nelie
07-11-2009, 08:53 AM
I am really in love with the book "The End of Overeating" and do recommend it to everyone. It isn't a book about how the food industry manipulates us but a book about how our own brain is wired and certain combinations of food (fat, sugar, salt) can override any natural brain chemistry that would keep us at a stable and healthy weight. The book does touch on how the food industry manipulates that information but it is used as an example more than anything.

There are certain things I never cared for (fast food, donuts, etc) and I don't quite understand those addictions for myself but I have my own food addictions that others may not understand. I think it is good to know what the food industry does to make food more 'appealing' and just to be aware if anything else.

kaplods
07-11-2009, 11:03 AM
So often any food, health, or weight related information that could make the job of weight-control easier is met with "it's not supposed to be easy, suck it up you lazy *******."

The information doesn't give people excuses (not that people can't turn it into excuses).

People can choose to read this as "evil corporations are conspiring against us to destroy our health," but that's an error in people's logic, not the information.

There's a verse in the bible (Romans 7:19) that has as much secular truth as religious truth: For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.

(Aside from the argument regarding what is and isn't evil), I think people have always wondered why they find themselves doing things against their own will. How even as you tell yourself, "I'm not going to eat another bite of this cheesecake," your fork is descending into the creamy evil, goodness, and as you lift it to you're mouth, you think "this is the very last bite.... well, maybe just one more..... well maybe it's ok to finish it, as long as I promise never to eat cheesecake again."

I think understanding why it's hard to fight ourselves is a tool for the battle. Knowing that there are food combinations that are difficult to resist, and knowing what's in the food you're eating is empowering information. You can choose to blame the food manufacturers or you can use the information to make informed choices.

flatiron
07-11-2009, 11:18 AM
WHAT! <feined surprise> Food companies inject substances into our food to make it taste better and they don't care how it affects our bodies???

NO!! REALLY???

Seriously the companies are in business #1 to make money ... period.

They will do everything and anything to get the consumer to buy and consume their product and come back and buy more.

There is a fedaral law that says the food companies have to put what's in the product on the label or provide a website that has that info.

All you have to do is "know" what you are eating.

And if it is unclear what it is that you are eating then don't eat it!

Sounds simple eh, I wish it was! LOL!

Jacquie668
07-11-2009, 11:40 AM
I think the article or slide show was interesting, thank you for posting it :D and had some points, but I also think that most of the food examples are not "tricking" people but rather offering fatty and unhealthy foods to the masses. I mean if you're going to eat buffalo wings or potato skins, well you pretty much know what you're getting.

There is a product out there that is supposed to be a "healthy snack" and at the moment the name of this product escapes me, but I remember looking at it because my boyfriend said he was shocked when he read the label and it was just as bad as a bag of chips. The packaging was green with a big "healthy" attitude with the look and feel and I literally saw people walk up, study the package, and buy it instead of the healthier snacks beside it just because of how it looked. They didn't read the label is my point. Okay, yeah that isn't responsible, but it also is a form of trickery from the company producing this stuff. Clearly it isn't healthy, why not just go get a bag of Doritos instead. At least with the Doritos, well you know what you're getting lol. The people who buy that product are buying a "healthy snack" because f the packaging. I did see one woman read the label, she quickly put it down and went to buy some baked chips which were healthier lol. But I read labels now...so when you actually take an interest in your food you tend to weed out a lot of the tricky products out there.

I think the other kinds of tricks are the availability of certain treat type foods. When I was a kid, going to an ice cream parlor was a little event. We didn't do it often, but you know it was fun and I mean a real ice cream parlor, not Baskin Robins. But now you can DRIVE THROUGH and get your ice cream and donuts all in one go! That is a bit sickening to me and you know I see people driving through and getting ice cream lol. It isn't special to me anymore. Even though I can't eat ice cream, unless it is vegan, I find it kind of sad and disturbing to see the Baskin Robin and Dunkin' Donuts drive through. But at the end of the day, I choose if I am going to go to a place like that. I mean this isn't Soylent Green...it isn't "people" lol.

kiramira
07-11-2009, 11:55 AM
Ms Jacque brings up a really good point: when exactly did EVERY day become a "FEAST" day? You know, those days or events that were unusual but special. I remember going to a place called Camelot's for ice cream. A small, kid-sized scoop, on the 1st day of summer, just to celebrate it. Just once a summer. And we looked forward to it.

Today, EVERY day is celebrated or consoled with a meal or treat out. I had a great day at work -- lets go out to dinner. I had a fight with my MIL -- lets go to DQ. Summer BBQ season -- lets use that Pina Colada premix and have it with hot dogs and potato salad and cake cake cake and maybe I'll have seconds because it IS the first day of the season...

And unfortunately, the places that we "feast" at want our return business, so they'll make their food as DELICIOUS as possible by creating frankenfoods to appeal to our tastebuds. They want us to "remember" those great sliders with bacon, cheese and salt, and to have a "taste memory" so we'll come back. We've ALL had that experience -- "Man I feel like sliders tonight. Lets go to X for dinner"... scary...

Kira

diary
07-11-2009, 01:00 PM
Thanks for posting this link! I need all the education I can get. I used to make these mistakes and am trying to avoid them now!

Jacquie668
07-11-2009, 01:29 PM
Ms Jacque brings up a really good point: when exactly did EVERY day become a "FEAST" day? You know, those days or events that were unusual but special. I remember going to a place called Camelot's for ice cream. A small, kid-sized scoop, on the 1st day of summer, just to celebrate it. Just once a summer. And we looked forward to it.

Today, EVERY day is celebrated or consoled with a meal or treat out. I had a great day at work -- lets go out to dinner. I had a fight with my MIL -- lets go to DQ. Summer BBQ season -- lets use that Pina Colada premix and have it with hot dogs and potato salad and cake cake cake and maybe I'll have seconds because it IS the first day of the season...

And unfortunately, the places that we "feast" at want our return business, so they'll make their food as DELICIOUS as possible by creating frankenfoods to appeal to our tastebuds. They want us to "remember" those great sliders with bacon, cheese and salt, and to have a "taste memory" so we'll come back. We've ALL had that experience -- "Man I feel like sliders tonight. Lets go to X for dinner"... scary...

Kira

I agree...it is kind of scary. I mean...lol this may sound silly, but I'm from the Midwest, so you know the places I lived didn't have endless Chinese take out and pizza places. We were lucky if we had a pizza hut lol. When I was a kid we used to go out to eat Chinese food (well "americanized Chinese food") and it was an experience. The tacky decorations, the atmosphere, I loved it. Now I live in NJ and when I first moved here I had my first experience with take-out. Every corner is littered with Chinese places, pizza places, dunkin' donuts, etc. It becomes so saturating that you think "well...I don't want to cook so I'll eat out" or "it is too hot to cook, let's order something." You don't have to leave your house, you don't have to leave your car, it just looses something now that I'm beginning to understand the nature of my feelings about it.

I kind of feel like gone are the days where you sat at a counter, and I used to when I was a kid with my Dad, and eat a special breakfast on Saturday morning. We never ate breakfast out, even when I was a teenager, unless it was the weekend really. Usually we just fended for ourselves. When I started getting out on my own, I started to do the "drive through" breakfast ritual. Get your morning fix while you're on your way to work. I mean there are like 6 dunkin/baskin robin places around me. That is a lot... :dizzy:

gmdavis
07-13-2009, 10:26 AM
I'm reading a book called, "In Defense of Food" which is about how all of this started in the food industry. It's very interesting...

As someone who jumped on the bandwagon the minute it started with the diet soda, "Tab", I can relate...