Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sugar, Fat, and Salt

Paradise greetings,

I am writing today from my mother's home in the Louisville area. We played in the Bardstown Road area yesterday (no, I didn't get to Lynn's Paradise Cafe). The weather is about as tropical as south Florida's weather only here you have the Ohio River valley effect, where the exhaust from combustion engines becomes trapped by sunlight, forcing those with respiratory illnesses to stay inside. Yuck. I don't have any respiratory illnesses but I don't want to be breathing in all that stuff either.

We stopped by the Floyd County, Indiana library so I could give them an autographed copy of my book, Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time (http://www.ourlittlebooks.com/). While there, I checked out The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler, MD. I have always admired Dr. Kessler, a pediatrician and former head of the FDA, and now I have one more reason to do so. In his book, published last year, he talks about the sugar, fat, and salt triad which the food industry uses to get us addicted to foods so we consume more calories than we need and they make more money than they need. Chapter 3 of The End of Overeating is titled "Sugar, Fat, and Salt Make Us Eat More Sugar, Fat, and Salt." This is exactly what I talk about with parents and employers who are feeding these (often hidden) ingredients to their families and their employees every day.

In Chapter 4, Dr. Kessler writes:
"Higher sugar, sat, and salt make you want to eat more," a high level food industry executive told me. I had alrady read this in the scientific literature and heard it in conversations with neuroscientists and psychologists. Now an insider was saying the same thing. My source was a leading food consultant, a Henry Ford of mass-produced food who had agreed to part the curtain for me, at least a bit, to reveal how his industry operates. To protect his business, he did not want to be identified. But he was remarkably candid, explaining that the food industry creates dishes to hit what he called the "three points of the compass." Sugar, fat, and salt make a food compelling, said the consultant. They make it indulgent. They make it high in hedonic value, which gives us pleasure.
"Do you design food specifically to be highly hedonic?" I asked.
"Oh, absolutely," he replied without a moment's hesitation. "We try to bring as much of that into the equation as possible."

Thank you, Dr. Kessler, for your courage to identify the root causes of America's obsession with overeating. If you are a parent and your family eats in restaurants regularly, such as Chilis or McDonald's, read Dr. Kessler's book. Before your next visit to a national chain restaurant, go to their website and look up the nutritional content (if they dare to let you see it) of what you and your kids usually eat there. Just remember that higher sugar, salt, and fat makes you want to eat more sugar, salt, and fat. We owe it to our children and to all of America's children to make informed choices about what we eat. Today, read a food label and choose to eat less sugar. And less salt. And less fat. Help reduce and halt childhood obesity.

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's children, one child and one garden at a time.

To your perfect health,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids