How Food Companies Create Addictive Food
Your Guide to Mindful Eating
There is a multi-BILLION dollar industry that creates flavors for foods. Their job is to make candy taste more fruity, soda sweeter, steak richer and vegetables more appealing. The worldwide leader in this industry is one of the largest companies you've probably never heard of, a multi-national by the name of Givaudan.
On November 27, 2011, the TV Newsmagazine 60 Minutes ran a special on this secretive industry called "The Flavorists."
The fact that there's such a huge market for flavor enhancers in food isn't the most surprising thing I learned while watching that show. What shocked me was a conversation they broadcast between Givaudan employees Dawn Streich, Jim Hassel and 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer. Here's what they said.
Dawn Streich: "In our fruit flavors we're talking about, we want a burst in the beginning. And maybe a finish that doesn't linger too much so that you want more of it."
Jim Hassel: "And you don't want a long linger, because you're not going to eat more of it if it lingers."
Morley Safer: "Aha. So I see, it's going to be a quick fix. And then--"
Hassel: "Have more."
Safer: "And then have more. But that suggests something else?"
Safer: "Which is called addiction?"
Safer: "You're tryin' to create an addictive taste?"
Hassel: "That's a good word."
Streich: "Or something that they want to go back for again and again."
Here were two employees of the largest flavoring company in the world, talking about making food with a burst of flavor, that quickly disappears "...because you're not going to eat more of it if it lingers."
Now think about all the food you eat in a day that have flavorings added to them. If you're in the snack food or soda aisle, almost all the products you see are enhanced with flavorings to make them taste better. Flavorings are designed to keep you shoveling food in your mouth to sustain that taste fix. Flavorings are specially formulated to "create an addictive taste."
It's time to fight back. For the next 30 days, I'd like you to engage in something called "mindful eating." It's a series of steps designed to help you pay closer attention to the food and beverages you're putting in your mouth. Ultimately by recognizing empty, flavor-enhanced calories for what they are, you'll be able to eat less junk food and more of the muscle-building good stuff.
Step One: Move away from the television. People who eat in front of the TV tend to do so mindlessly and consume 11% more than those who dine with it off.
Step Two: Take several deep breaths when you start the meal, then take a couple before every bite. Deep breathing puts you in a relaxed state and helps slow down how much you ultimately shove in your mouth.
Step Three: Write down everything before you eat or drink it. You can put it in a journal, enter it in a smartphone or log it with specialized software. Short of having all your meals prepared for you, it's the best way to see the ramifications of that food you want to put in your mouth before it winds up on your butt or gut.
Step Four: Savor the flavor of everything you eat and drink. Make notes of the smell as it hits your nose, the textures you feel with your tongue, the taste as you're chewing and the flavors that linger after you've swallowed. You might discover that soda you chugged with abandon, has a bit of an unpleasant metallic aftertaste. The processed meat in a box is a little too salty and those individually wrapped dessert snacks leave behind a bitter taste of plastic after you swallow.
The ultimate goal is for you to be more aware of how food companies are manipulating you, so you can choose healthier options. Instead of flooding your mouth with sweet but chemical tasting soda, wash things down with water. Rather than processed chicken with half your daily supply of salt, enjoy chicken tossed with a light dusting of fragrant herbs. Take your time and pay attention. You'll be amazed at the changes you see in just 30 days.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.