NYTimes: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

“But the largest weight-inducing food was the potato chip.

“The coating of salt, the fat content that rewards the brain with instant feelings of pleasure, the sugar that exists not as an additive but in the starch of the potato itself — all of this combines to make it the perfect addictive food.”

Read more at the New York Times.

8 thoughts on “NYTimes: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”

  1. A cure for some obesity may be on the horizon. It relies on the understanding that the waste products (specifically ‘lipopolysaccaride endotoxins’) of some of our gut bacteria (specifically Gram-negative bacteria) are potent irritants, stimulate chronic inflammation, and have been shown (Na Fei and Liping Zhao, ISME Journal, 13 DEC 12) to be 100% effective at triggering obesity by causing fatty deposits in the peritoneum.
    As an involuntary heavyweight myself (I eat fruits and salads, drink no sodas), I relish the day that the food nannies are confronted with a cure for a problem they have been using to tyrannize other people.

  2. “This stuff tastes awful. I could make a fortune selling it in my health food store.” [Sleeper, Woody Allen]

  3. The largest weight-inducing factor is prosperity. We are not ready for it.

    The growth of the fat tissue is a positive-feedback mechanism. How do you control a system that contains a stiff positive feedback? You either stifle it with a brutal negative feedback (which in humans can only be applied as a conscious effort), or you pulse it. The latter is the way it went in nature until about a couple generations ago. If you care to search your family history, you are guaranteed to find a relative who starved during most of his life.

    The very reason we have this self-activating fat tissue is so we can assimilate as much food and as quickly as possible when we have a chance. Like, when you’ve run across a dead horse during the dry season, and nothing else is likely to come your way for weeks.

  4. If you make products people like, are willing to buy and will consume you are somehow more evil than making products people don’t like and don’t buy? A majority of us have figured out that excess calories, whether they be by sugar, starches or fats will make us fat. Perhaps journolists, bureaucrats and politi ians don’t know that. If I gain weight, I have no one to blame but myself. I liked the story from a perspective of how these companies worked to make themselves profitable by making things people liked. I was more than a little put off by casting them as people who needed redemption for their sins.

    I never met an MRE, T-ration or C ration I liked with the exceptions of peanut butter, fruit cocktail, the freeze dried fruit and the Lucky Strikes (very old Crats). So, the part about making them taste good was a total failure.

  5. Food industry CEOs weren’t worried about obesity, their concern was that they were being targeted as being to blame for a supposed obesity and health crisis. It was easier to capitulate to the anti-obesity and anti-Big Food special interests than to educate their customers.

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