Eating Healthily: Not as Easy as You Think

We all want to eat healthily. After all, you are what you eat. If you eat bad food you feel sick, and who wants to feel sick? What if you found out that companies have tricked you into eating their foods, these companies have co-opted the government, and convinced society their foods are healthy, when in fact, they are not. In fact, they have used your human psychology and physiology to trick you. We are all part of our society, but this does not mean we all need to conform to this trickery. I am old fashioned when it comes to food. If my grandmother would not eat it, then perhaps I should not as well.

In the postwar decades, most countries in the world underwent what the professor of nutrition Barry Popkin calls a “nutrition transition” to a westernised diet high in sugar, meat, fat, salt, refined oils and ultra-processed concoctions, and low in vegetables. Affluence and multi-national food companies replaced the hunger of earlier generations with an unwholesome banquet of sweet drinks and convenience foods that teach us from a young age to crave more of the same. Wherever this pattern of eating travelled, it brought with it dramatic rises in ill health, from allergies to cancer. source

Healthy food, from original and local sources, is not hugely profitable. We cannot make new fruits, though we can import new fruits from foreign countries. For enterprising food companies wishing to expand profits, original foods are not sufficient for growth.

Food companies want to increase sales. They are aided by marketing companies. Both wish to influence consumer tastes and guide them to their products. The vast majority of products in a modern grocery store are processed and maybe bad for your health. Your body is based on very ancient roots and is easily tricked into eating certain foods. This psychology and physiology is used to increase their sales. Marketing is successfully used to change public opinion.

Marketing in grocery stores is also used to sell higher margin, processed and less healthy foods. Original foods such as meats and vegetables are usually at the very back of a store. The consumer needs to run the gauntlet of processed foods, tempted at every corner by something flashy and tasty. Often these products are unhealthy.

I am old fashioned when it comes to food.

Addendum 2019 Oct A New Theory of Obesity: “Ultraprocessed” foods seem to trigger neural signals that make us want more and more calories, unlike other foods in the Western diet

Nerve cells in the gut send signals to our brains via a large conduit called the vagus nerve, she says. Those signals include information about the amount of energy (calories) coming into the stomach and intestines. If information is scrambled, the mixed signal can result in overeating. If “the brain does not get the proper metabolic signal from the gut,” Small says, “the brain doesn’t really know that the food is even there.”

…that is where ultraprocessed foods become a problem, Small says. The energy used by the body after consuming these foods does not match the perceived energy ingested. As a result, the brain gets confused in a manner that encourages overeating.

…ultraprocessed foods often contain a combination of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners that, Small says, produces surprising metabolic effects that result in a particularly potent reinforcement effect. That is, eating them causes us to want more of these foods.

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