One of the first things I tell new clients who have had weight issues for most of their lives is, “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!” I never had any real proof, but my intuition told me that something evil was at play with the food industry when it came to highly processed foods.
The simple answer was that overly processed foods react differently in our bodies unlike real, whole foods and that they create cravings at best and addictions at worst.
Cravings are what our bodies tells us we need something but not always what the actual craving is. For example, sweet cravings often mean that our bodies need protein not sugary sweets at all.
Addictions are a result of something altogether different. Now we do not use the term addiction loosely and we view food addictions just as serious as addictions to drugs and alcohol and if untreated it can truly turn into long term illness and disease (READ: diabetes, obesity, hypertension and cancers…to name a few). It is well known in the health industry that processed sugar has been found in some studies to be more addictive than cocaine. In a study of rats given both, 94% of the rats chose the sugar.
My husband, Doctor Keith, explains the true issue with processed foods (especially processed sugar and white wheat flour) like this:
“If you were to take a large log of wood in its true, natural form and light it on fire it would burn slowly, for hours and with little smoke. Take the same large log and put it through a wood chipper and then turn it into shavings, then pulp and eventually paper…that same large log would now be a very large stack of papers. If you lit that same log now in its processed form, it would burn so fast and with so much smoke that you would have to leave the room or put out the fire. The same scenario happens within our bodies with unprocessed and processed foods.”
Can you imagine how you would react to this fire? Open windows? Grab fire extinguisher? Call 911?
This is where my attitude of IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! comes into play. Our bodies were never meant to feel this way or have these overly processed “frankenfoods” in our systems.
Do you listen to what your body tells you? I call this our foodtuition™ and I pride myself in saying we all have it and “it’s not rocket science.” Foodtuition™ is develped when you eat something crappy and you take a minute to listen how your body reacts (gas, bloating, diarrhea, carb-coma, etc…) and you make a conscious choice to remember this OR, in the converse, when you eat something healthy and have a moment of repose and choose to remember the higher energy and/or easy digestion process that follows.
This is all fine and we inferred that the food scientists were onto this. Not unlike the chemical component of highly processed sugar is the addition of highly processed high fructose corn syrup (which is cheaper and super-subsidized by our government) is in everything from your favorite “healthy” cereal and “healthy” yogurt but new information has confirmed my suspicions all along: the food industry has been working hard behind the scenes at food optimization.
New York Times’ Michael Moss broke the story and writes, “In the process of product optimization, food engineers alter a litany of variables with the sole intent of finding the most perfect version (or versions) of a product. Ordinary consumers are paid to spend hours sitting in rooms where they touch, feel, sip, smell, swirl and taste whatever product is in question.”
Famed food industry engineer Howard Moskowitz tells Moss, “The mathematical model maps out the ingredients to the sensory perceptions these ingredients create, so I can just dial a new product. This is the engineering approach.”
“I CAN JUST DIAL A NEW PRODUCT?” From here the industry had discovered the “bliss point” for their highly processed foods and could pump salt, sugar and fat to make their junk food irresistible. Can you see where my suspicions were actually true and that truly, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT?
Now let’s dial that statement back a bit. While the food scientists obsess over food colorings and additives to ensure your addiction to their products, we, as consumers, purchasers and decision makers are truly the ones who are culpable for our own health. The idea that the man behind the curtain is manipulating your “food-like products” is only meant to inform us to make the better choices.
So make the choice to eat food. Not food-like products which have, literally, teams of engineers and scientists paid really good money to get you addicted to these frankenfoods.
Another sentiment that I like to bestow upon our clients is: Never trust the food that anyone prepared for you because they don’t care about your health. Only you do. So prepare your own food like humans have been for millennia.