Thanks to Dr. Chris Fenn for this blog. Chris is a nutritionist, author and speaker. Her motto is “eat for success” and she helps people to understand which foods help them achieve their goals and which ones actually hold them back.
Ask yourself “why do you eat?”
The textbook answer would be … to supply your body with energy giving nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibre. However, rarely do we think of food in these terms. It is more common to seek out food which tastes good.
Thousands of skilled and creative people are employed by the food manufacturing industry to invent cheap foods, which taste good. Grab and go crunchy snacks contain substances which stimulate the appetite centre so that consumers keep eating right to the bottom of the (once large, now supersized) bag. This sets up a pattern of hypersensitivity to food and eating becomes an event which is easily stimulated, but difficult to stop. A cycle of food temptation and dependence is then set up – and the cycle is hard to break.
Food manufacturers won’t help you, as their agenda is profit. The more stimulating and tasty they can design food, the more we will want to finish the whole packet – and come back for more. These types of foods are cheap and available, and hard to resist – especially if you are tired, bored, lonely, stressed or in need of a “treat” and use these foods to feed your emotions.
We also love a sweet taste, and so sugar is shovelled into many processed food. Sugar is a cheap ingredient, but the dreaded high fructose corn syrup is even cheaper. The use of this as a major ingredient in many processed foods (even baked beans and pasta sauces) adds to profit, increases shelf life, and feeds our love of sweet foods. However, the bolt of fructose which hits your liver is a real shock to your system. It is left to the liver to deal with this sudden input of fructose – which it does by converting it to fat. In contrast, unprocessed foods such as apples, pears and honey contain fructose but in the correct concentration, which nature has designed, for your body to deal with.
There are many causes of obesity but to point a finger at an over-fat person and claim that they are obviously greedy and lazy is too simplistic. Sure, some people eat a lot – but the ubiquitous use of high fructose corn syrup by the food manufacturing industry, which puts profit before health, is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.
Why then does the Government not control the use of this ingredient? The answer, of course, boils down to money. Why would the Government restrict industries who share their profits with them in exchange for watering down legislation. There are plenty of rules to ensure that food is produced hygienically, to help minimise the risk of food poisoning. There are fewer controls to restrict the use of ingredients which slowly poison our livers, skin, brains and bones. Food politics can weave a tangled web, but the results are clear to see at the 2012 London Olympics. Here the UK Government is keen to promote a sense of health and well being through sport, and yet condones McDonalds, PepsiCo and Cadbury as the major sponsors of the event!
The good news is that it is possible to free you addiction to highly processed, addictive, foods, and to retrain your taste buds. Good quality, locally produced, and seasonal vegetables, fruits, cheese, artisan bread, meat and fish all come with their own natural flavours and pleasure forming chemicals. Regular exercise can also feed our emotions. It generates the same sort of chemical rewards as some junk foods. So, walk to the farmer’s market, feed your taste buds and emotions – and take control of your eating habits.