Food scientists and marketers have cracked the code on how to make food irresistible. They have learnt how to manipulate any food by layering on as much of the 3 key ingredients as possible. As you may already have guessed, the 3 star players in creating irresistible food are fat, sugar and salt .
After reading this post you may start to notice the clever techniques that restaurants use to load on these three addictive food factors. Next time you are dining out, go through a couple menu items and you will undoubtedly find the culprits (though cleverly hidden) behind overeating. Certain salads, for example, are prime models of meals that have been designed by food developers to deliver appealing visual cues and stimulate our appetite. A standard restaurant salad contains lettuce covered in a creamy, sweet dressing, paired with some protein which itself is usually fried or battered and then topped with honey roasted nuts. If you break it down, that’s basically sugar and fat paired with more fat and salt and then topped with sugar. You don’t realize this when you’re eating it because in your mind a salad means vegetables, which means healthy and low-calorie.
It’s no wonder that the weight of the average Canadian and American is on the rise .
Eating fat, sugar and salt leads us to crave more fat, sugar and salt . These ingredients activate our reward centers, and upon constant stimulation, we develop an insatiable appetite. Rewarding foods are reinforcing. Hours in the lab are spent figuring out the perfect amounts of fat sugar and salt to keep us hooked .
Eating has become more than just sustenance, people eat for experience too. Food can be linked with so many emotions depending on the setting it is served in and how you were feeling when you ate it. This is exactly what restaurants play on when designing their space, creating slogans and engineering the menu. They take advantage of your emotions to deliver an unforgettable meal.
Food addictions, compulsive or emotional eating and overeating are not unique behaviours . They apply to people of all sizes and backgrounds. I can admit that I have a slight food addiction. I love food so much that I think about it constantly. Before I sleep, I think about what I will eat for breakfast when I wake up. When I’m eating one meal, I’m constantly thinking about what I want to eat later.
Luckily there are ways to curb cravings and keep food consumption in check:
1. Be aware of hunger levels. Learn to differentiate between actual hunger and cravings.
2. Avoid processed foods that you cannot stop eating. Eating just one often leads to another and another, and before you realize it you will have eaten the entire package.
3. Stay hydrated. Taking fluids (ex. water, tea, juice) with meals increases satiety. Also, when your body is thirsty it doesn’t care whether it gets water from water or a hamburger, which may lead some people to think that they’re hungry.
1. The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler