Addictive Junk food
In 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society stated that more than half of American adults were now considered overweight, with nearly one-quarter of the adult population that is to say, 40 million people were clinically defined as obese. Among children, the rates had more than doubled since 1980, and the number of kids considered obese had shot past 12 million. Today, one in three adults is considered clinically obese, along with one in five kids, and 24 million Americans are afflicted by type 2 diabetes, often caused by poor diet, with another 79 million people having pre-diabetes. Even gout, a painful form of arthritis once known as “the rich man’s disease” for its associations with gluttony, now afflicts eight million Americans.
To summarize Michael Moss’ article “The extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk food”, Food manufacturers were now being blamed for the obesity problem from all sides since packaged foods and drinks play a huge role in over consumption of an average American. But how did we get to being one of the world’s unhealthiest nations or has it always been so? Looking at Howard Moskowitz, a scientist who introduced the bliss point effect (this where food manufacturers maximize on the consumers’ desire to have more). Was initially introduced to soldiers who easily got bored of their Meals Ready to Eat (M.R.E) and were always fatigued hence he had to find a way of depressing their desire to have more. This as such became the guiding principle for the processed-food industry. With these “blissful foods”, a consumer can’t have just the required servings but will instead keep eating until the product is over this is true for Doritos, potato chips and soft drinks like coca cola. According to Moss every food manufacturer has a group of scientists, marketers and CEOs whose job is to discover what the consumer wants to buy “give the consumers what they want” and that is the attitude they wear hence getting them hooked on sugar, salt and fat regardless of the dangers to their health. Geoffrey Bible a former C.E.O of Philip Morris, when asked about the lunchables having too much salt for the kids 9grams to be exact his response was rather shocking, “Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.” The food manufacturers’ only worry is how much they are making, what their projected sales are and make sure they stay on top lest their competitors surpass them and NOT the health of the consumer. Ironically, these food manufacturers’ own families don’t eat these processed foods what does this tell us? Clearly these processed foods are not healthy for daily consumption let alone be given to children. In 2007, Moss states that Kraft had tried a lunchables Jr for 3 to 5 year olds as if they hadn’t “killed” enough children, they decided to go even lower in age!
So, one wonders, how did a country like Finland which had the highest rate of fatal cardiovascular disease in the world in the 1970s, turn around and reduce its number of deaths from strokes and heart disease by 75 to 80 percent by 2007? Simple, the Finnish authorities accepted that there was a problem and went after the manufacturers who had to indicate on every grocery item that was heavy in salt have a warning “High Salt Content.” Just like Finland the government needs to step and create a “code to guide nutritional aspects of food marketing especially to children.” As Michael Mudd had proposed. The food industry should use the expertise of scientists that is its own and others to gain a deeper understanding of what is driving Americans to overeat and as such, pull back on their use of salt, sugar and fat and “make a sincere effort to