Food scientists have known for years that they can create food junkies simply by combining a little fat, sugar and salt. Add another addictive ingredient such as chocolate and you have the namesake cookie that is almost impossible to resist.
The cookie is so potent that former Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. David Kessler decided to write “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite,” which is reviewed in The New York Times.
Restaurants and food makers long have been taking advantage of our human weaknesses. Writes The Times:
When it comes to stimulating our brains, Dr. Kessler noted, individual ingredients aren’t particularly potent. But by combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we’re full.
While Kessler apparently focuses on human addiction rather than corporate blame, consider this:
Foods rich in sugar and fat are relatively recent arrivals on the food landscape, Dr. Kessler noted. But today, foods are more than just a combination of ingredients. They are highly complex creations, loaded up with layer upon layer of stimulating tastes that result in a multisensory experience for the brain. Food companies “design food for irresistibility,” Dr. Kessler noted. “It’s been part of their business plans.”
Did I just read that a former FDA chief is accusing the food industry of intentionally making addictive foods? Gee, the world is full of surprises.