Snack Food Companies Are NOT Looking Out For Your Health

An interesting article appeared in last week’s New York Times Magazine, “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food“.  It is no surprise to me that snack food and junk food peddlers are not interested in your health.  I have read other accounts of their intense efforts to fuel overeating (of their products, of course).  Still some of the marketing techniques could truly be called “evil”, especially the ones aimed at kids.

I was especially struck by the reference to a Lunchables add campaign that plays on the theme of being in control of choices.  “All day, you gotta do what they say . . . But lunchtime is all yours.”  They even tried marketing to 3-5 year olds with Lunchables, Jr.  Filled with chemical additives, sugar, salt, and fat, Kraft played on the convenience of their Lunchables line to peddle junk food disguised as lunch.

Other take-aways from the article:

  • Potato chips are the single most addictive food – the perfect combination of salt, fat, and sugar
  • Cheetos are remarkable for their “vanishing caloric density”.  They pleasantly dissolve in the mouth, leaving the eater to feel less guilty and satisfied, craving more.

My editorial comment:  Don’t let food companies take away your will power.  Knowing what they are doing can help.  Keep exposure to junk food to a minimum.  If you really want something, remember that there is a challenge in front of you, but you are a person with free will.  You can eat a little of it and feel proud of how you outsmarted the multimillion dollar efforts to hook you.  That means YOU WIN!

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8 responses to “Snack Food Companies Are NOT Looking Out For Your Health

  1. Junk food is just that junk……….but for some reason we all fall for it at some point in our lives and then later look back and say, hmmm there must have been something more healthier around???

    • Very true. For me, the eating experience is just so much more pleasant when I am not feeling like the food is too stimulating to control. Good, healthy food can taste GREAT, and it doesn’t usually give me that feeling.

  2. The Times article is long, but worth reading. Understanding how we got to this point goes a long way to making the right decisions in the future. But, you really can’t let your guard down. Prego? I never really thought to look at the ingredients on a jar of spaghetti sauce!! I shared the bit about sugar content in Prego with husband – he says we will start making and freezing our own sauce. Or, we’ll have to become better label readers.

    • Yes, reading labels (checking ingredient list) is a good idea. It’s important to look past the propaganda of marketing, because they will make claims that sound healthy, like “all natural”, “with whole grains”, etc. Sugar is all natural, but too much of it is not good for us, and sprinkling a small amount of whole grains into a junk product does not make it healthy. There are many little tricks the marketing teams use to hook us into eating more, because we think we are eating healthy.

  3. Certainly interesting how companies control us do easily.

  4. Oh wow, I’ve never thought about the vanishing calorie density effect. So that’s why I can eat a box of processed crap and not feel it yet I get full after a few bites of real food. Terrifying :X

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