I’ve always suspected that salt and sugar are addictive—and that processed food manufacturers flip and bounce those ingredients in bizarre ways to make us freebase increasing amounts of their frankenproduct.
Now I have something besides my predilliction for nacho cheese Doritos and Hairbo gummy cola bottles to validate my suspicion: The research of David A. Kessler, a former FDA commissioner who is best known for taking on Big Tobacco.
According to this Washington Post article, Kessler, a lifelong dieter, went on a quest to get the nutritional content of some his favorite restaurant foods. For instance, to find out what makes Chili’s Southwestern Eggrolls so seductive, he dumpster dived for the boxes with the original labels affixed. Here’s what he found:
The ingredient list for Southwestern Eggrolls mentioned salt eight different times; sugars showed up five times. The “egg rolls,” which are deep-fried in fat, contain chicken that has been chopped up like meatloaf to give it a “melt in the mouth” quality that also makes it faster to eat. By the time a diner has finished this appetizer, she has consumed 910 calories, 57 grams of fat and 1,960 milligrams of sodium.
Instead of satisfying hunger, the salt-fat-sugar combination will stimulate that diner’s brain to crave more, Kessler said. For many, the come-on offered by Lay’s Potato Chips — “Betcha can’t eat just one” — is scientifically accurate. And the food industry manipulates this neurological response, designing foods to induce people to eat more than they should or even want, Kessler found.
Ultimately, Kessler wrote a book about these practices titled The End of Overating. I’m buying that book today so I can find out exactly who the guilty parties are.
Today, I’m also gleefully reframing how I think about my periodic snack resistance. Now, when I say no to the Andy Cap Hot Fries, the Herrs cheese popcorn, the gummy bears, the Whatchamacalits and the…
Sorry. Got distracted.
Anyway, abstaining from sugary, salty junk won’t be about maintaining my waistline so I can fit into The Man’s young-ass kkklothes. It won’t even be about staying healthy. I’m saying no as a fuck-you to the capitalist sociopaths who deign to keep us strung out on their edible crack rock. I love a good self-serving protest.
Ugawa motherfuckers. Ugawa.