Yum-yum, or the industry of surrogate happiness
Everyone knows that potato chips and Coca-Cola are not healthful foods. However, sales of these products are invariably high. The secret is simple: the producers have developed special formulas that "deceive" the brain and make people consume more of these products. In fact, consumers develop dependence on the harmful food, experts say.
American nutritionists, talking about one of the leading brands of potato chips, argued that it was one of the most remarkable engineered foods on the planet, designed for pure pleasure. The main feature of these snacks is that they melt in your mouth. The nutritionists call this a vanishing calorie - If it melts quickly, the brain thinks that it has no calories and the chips can be consumed in unlimited amounts.
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According to journalist Michael Moss, the author of an article in New York Times Magazine, snack food manufacturers conduct a great deal of research to develop products that would make the consumers eat more. If the taste buds of the consumer are "enchanted" with the chips melting in their mouth, a condition that the insiders call "bliss point" manifests itself.
Of course, finding such a formula is not an easy task. Scientists must avoid the so-called sensory-specific satiety. For example, if we breathe in a strong aroma of food, the brain signals that that the body is "full". Therefore, manufacturers develop not only the taste but also smells.
When we eat potato chips, it excites the pleasure centers in the brain, and the brain does not give the command to stop. As a result, we consume a lot of calories, but believe that we've eaten something airy and low-fat.
The U.S. authorities have been seriously concerned with the epidemic of obesity among the Americans. If in 1980 15 percent of citizens were obese, in 2010 this number amounted to as much as 36 percent. This is a very significant number, over a third of the total population of the United Stated. The number of overweight school-age children in 30 years has grown from 5 - 6 to 18 percent.
A study conducted in 2011 revealed that potato chips contribute to weight gain more than anything. They are covered with salt, and contain fat and sugar that come from potato starch.
In Russia, the main consumers of chips, Coca-Cola and other junk food are children and youth. They are attracted by the taste of harmful products and their convenience, as a package of snacks or a bottle of soda is very portable. These products are affordable and easy to buy with the pocket money kids are given. Often children and teenagers prefer this type of food to a full breakfast or lunch. Adults, preoccupied with their own problems, cannot always keep track of what their child is eating.
The addictive chips and soda are not easy to abandon in the adulthood as well, and young people cannot refuse the tasty treat even though they know about its dangers. In times of stress or when bored and have nothing to do, young people can eat one pack after another. Many people like to mindlessly eat them sitting in front of a TV or computer, completely losing track of the amount they consume.
If you are already addicted to potato chips, it will be very difficult to reverse the situation. Chips are not drugs in the classic sense, but the consequences of their consumption can be quite serious, because, in addition to obesity, such products also cause various diseases of the internal organs - from gastritis to cardiovascular diseases. Meanwhile, it is not as easy as it seems to give up this "surrogate happiness" backed by a giant industry, whose representatives are interested in making the consumer want more.