New York Times: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food
The New York Times recently published an article that took an in-depth look into the way large food companies are adding sugar, salt and other unhealthy ingredients into their products to make food ‘more addictive’. The author, Michael Moss, did a fantastic job of speaking with CEO’s, food experts, scientists and other influential people in the processed food industry to give readers a complete picture of what’s currently going on and how the past has brought us to this point. One of the experts he spoke with is Dr. Steven A. Witherly, Ph.D, who serves on the ViSalus Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Witherly touched on vanishing caloric density which basically means that foods that melt in your mouth are processed in your brain as something that doesn’t contain calories, enabling you to eat more. Below is the excerpt of Dr. Witherly explaining the phenomenon.
“To get a better feel for their work, I called on Steven Witherly, a food scientist who wrote a fascinating guide for industry insiders titled, Why Humans Like Junk Food. I brought him two shopping bags filled with a variety of chips to taste. He zeroed right in on the Cheetos. ‘This,’ Witherly said, ‘is one of the most marvelously constructed foods on the planet, in terms of pure pleasure.’ He ticked off a dozen attributes of the Cheetos that make the brain say more. But the one he focused on most was the puff’s uncanny ability to melt in the mouth. ‘It’s called vanishing caloric density,’ Witherly said. ‘If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.’”
To learn more about the science behind addictive food, make sure to read this article. It’s a fantastic read and extremely informative.
Image and excerpt source: The New York Times