Food giants such as Coca-Cola, Kellogg and McDonalds have been using advertising and subconscious triggers to turn us off healthy food choices since the 1980’s says a new report released today.
David Levitsky – who is a Professor of nutritional sciences and psychology at Cornell – has co-authored the paper with student Carly Pacanowski and concludes the reason you are addicted to bad foods is not altogether your own fault.
The two researchers say that there are many subconscious triggers that influence what and how much we eat with one of the biggest being the size of the portion on our plate.
Other factors included such things as the number of fellow diners, which diner you are in, the amount of food advertising you have been exposed to and the amount of choices available.
The report says:
“In combination, these factors are so powerful that, unless we are restrained by surgery or structured eating plans, or by a dedication to prevent future weight gain, we become vulnerable to all stimuli presented, mostly by commercial interests who have learned to effectively use these techniques to encourage us to eat a little more.”
“An individual’s decision to eat is not a result of personal weakness but rather is determined, to a great extent, by the many environmental cues that have emerged since the early 1980’s as a consequence of the commercialization of food.”
They say that since the 1980’s our calorie intake has increased by as much as 30 calories a day.
Former corporate biochemist Paul Stitt has for decades been telling anyone who will listen that the food giants are spending millions on researchers hired to turn us off the healthy food choices and on to their products by finding additives that will make you addicted to their products and on advertising designed to convince us its not their fault Americans are so fat.
When Morgan Spurlock nearly killed himself by eating nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days for his documentary “Super Size Me” CBN asked Paul Stitt how it was possible for Spurlock to gain 24.5 pounds in just those 30 days.
Paul Stitt says that it is possible because the American food industry deliberately makes food that does not satisfy. “It’s hollow food, food that has no substance to it. That’s why one feels hungry soon after eating it. In their processing, the food companies take out the nutrients and add artificial flavorings and lots of sugar. They add stimulants that create cravings.”
In the film Paul says Morgan eats 5,000 calories per day! People can eat that many calories per day and still be hungry soon after because the food is specially designed to do that. That seems to be shortsighted on the part of the industry. Paul says they think in terms of making as much money as they can today, not thinking about the long-term effects of what they are doing. Source: CBN
While it is easy to say it is up to each person to make healthy choices in their diet and lifestyle, as these and other authors have pointed out, we are subject to so many subconcious triggers (advertising) today that you need to really put the effort in to change your lifestyle and fight against the flow. For example, why do millions of kids eat Froot Loops for breakfast despite the fact it is one of the unhealthiest things they could start their day on? Because of clever advertising and branding.
David Levisky and Carly Pacanowski touch on this subject in their paper and say while we should all try to learn to resist these food cues, if obesity in America is to be beaten the Government must step in to control the amount of advertising we are subjected to.
That though is highly unlikely because lets face it, it is some of America’s most powerful and richest companies that are killing us with their produce. Stop Corporate Abuse wrote this on the subject:
“They (the food giants) spend millions lobbying and supporting fast food friendly politicians, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. To keep public health legislation from being enacted, fast food giants have also filed lawsuits against local government and actively passed preemption laws at the state level across the country to prevent local communities from enacting locally relevant public health policies.”
“Back in 2008, when San Francisco passed their menu board labeling law, the California Restaurant Association (representing mostly chain restaurants like Burger King and Taco Bell), sued the city. Last year, McDonald’s Corporation threatened to sue San Francisco for passing the Healthy Meals incentive (San Francisco expects the lawsuit by the end of this year). Both times, they said the city’s local public health policy violated their right to free speech, but their true goal may have been to drain the city’s resources with a drawn-out law suit.” Read more here
So what can you do to beat the food giants?
Be a shepherd rather than a sheep. Accept that the food giants are lying to you and if you haven’t yet then do more research – I highly recommend Beating The Food Giants by Paul Stitt.
Once you have seen the light then make a concious effort to change your lifestyle for the better by making healthy food choices.
Making the decision is the hard part but once you do, the rest just falls into place. By dropping processed and fast foods from your diet the weight will fall off you and you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
When you lose weight you become more active and that leads to you becoming fitter and healthier.
Becoming fitter and healthier means less medical problems and a far longer life. It also means improved self confidence. Thanks to the halo effect on men this leads to more success in business, in dating and life in general.
All this by simply deciding that from now on you are going to make nothing but healthy food choices!