Conspiracy Theory: Food Additives Make Us Over-Eat

Conspiracy Theory: Food Additives Make Us Over-Eat

Food & Drink

Conspiracy Theory: Food Additives Make Us Over-Eat


By Cari Martens

If you’re among the millions of us who struggle to keep the extra pounds off, a recent book suggests we may have something else to blame beside our lack of willpower.

According to David Kessler, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, over-eating might be caused by something far more sneaky: the combination of fats, sugars and salt used by food manufacturers to trigger a ‘bliss’ point in the human brain.

In his bestseller The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite,
Kessler confesses he’s been a binge eater and swing dieter. He says that until society addresses the bigger issues about food, we will continue on the binge-and-purge path many of us know too well.

We must transform the way we view food, he says, and think more carefully about what we’re putting into our bodies. Kessler, a professor of pediatrics, epidemiology, and biostatistics at the University of California, says there are certain ingredient combinations (such as sugar, salt and fat) that trigger the ‘bliss point,’ causing food to become literally addictive. Among the foods he cites as offenders are Starbucks’ frappuccinos, Pringles chips, ketchup—and fast food in general.

Kessler also points to today’s omnipresent food culture as another factor. ‘The ubiquitous presence of food, large portion sizes, incessant marketing and the cultural assumption that it’s acceptable to eat anywhere, at any time, have combined to put more people at risk,’ he says.

In the end, Kessler recommends the ‘everything-in-moderation’ approach rather than the all-or-nothing attitude that’s so prevalent today. While we are unlikely to completely eliminate the ‘cue-urge-reward’ habit we’ve developed, he says it can be managed.

You can read more on the topic in this story by Sarah Hughes in the London Daily Mail.

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