Most people love a good meal overflowing with sugar, salt, and fat. What’s not to like? It turns out, a lot. Each ingredient on its own is no picnic for your health, but together it is an experiment that could change your brain. Researchers believe that the three unhealthy ingredients foster the creation of dopamine, which in turn, drives the desire for more of said ingredients. Cravings relate to addiction.
We each have what’s called a bliss point, which is our ideal level or combination of sugar, salt, and fat that gets our brain juices flowing. Food manufacturers are well aware of this bliss point and spend a great deal of time uncovering and targeting the average person’s ideal level. It leads to short-term satisfaction and unconscious eating. The only thing healthy about this are the profits that food manufacturers earn from hitting the bliss point.
I recently read a study that fed rats a diet high in sugar, salt, and fat. Not only were the brain’s pleasure chemicals activated at meal time, the researches believed the rats had withdrawal symptoms when the sugar, salt, and fat were reduced. Again, a sign of addiction. One study doesn’t make a trend, but worth considering nonetheless.
When we continuously choose to eat these unhealthy ingredients, it changes our brains and we can become conditioned to overeat. The combination of choosing nutritiously-poor foods and overeating them is a recipe for disaster, more specifically, obesity. What’s more, the sugar and salt often act as preservatives, creating a convenient product with a long shelf life, so they’re readily available for overindulgence.
Food industry execs, along with Madison Avenue advertisers, don’t play nice either. They spend millions of dollars attempting to establish an emotional connection between you and their product. They want you to consider their product a comfort food. Have you ever watched a commercial where an overweight actor was inhaling a greasy cheeseburger? Of course not. They’re always good-looking, fit people. These companies are very good at bypassing your conscious brain to make tie their product to feeling good.
I do not think it is the intent of food manufacturers to negatively impact our health, but it is a troublesome consequence. They want to increase profitability and they’ve found that by pumping our food filled with sweet chemicals, sugar, salt, and fat, they make tons of money. I recommend keeping such foods out of the house completely. Also, think ahead when you’re traveling or running errands. Have snacks like fruits, nuts, and seeds, or even cut up veggies on hand so you don’t make that quick pit stop at an unhealthy fast food joint. I highly recommend indulging in high-water content fruit, which are refreshing and typically sweet. It can solve a sugar craving in its tracks. Trust me, it works.