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Canned cheeseburgers and food addiction

  1. Jun 16, 2009 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    In light of a report on The NewsHour tonight, on PBS, this incidental story about canned cheeseburgers seemed like a nice opening.

    http://www.gizmag.com/pictures/lrg_img//8713_27010831227.jpg
    http://www.gizmag.com/the-canned-cheeseburger--fast-food-in-the-wilderness/8713/

    In his book, The End of Overeating, Dr. David Kessler explores his findings about junk food and why we eat it. He argues that for many people, fat, salt, and sugar activate the brain in such a way that they are being programmed for addiction. As the retail junk/fast food companies learn to maximize the desirability of their products, they are also maximizing the addictiveness of their products.

    A full report should be available soon. For now there is only an audio feed.
    http://newshour-tc.pbs.org/newshour/rss/media/2009/06/16/20090616_overeating.mp3

    News page
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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  3. Jun 16, 2009 #2

    Pengwuino

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    Canned cheeseburger?

    Ok I think the line has been crossed, time for the Earth to be engulfed by the Sun.
     
  4. Jun 16, 2009 #3
    That's a give. What are the substances that these companies secret into their food that makes them so conducive to a population sporting 20 exra pounds and muffin tops?

    I've been asking for a couple years now, thinking it must be a concoction of horrid chemical
    additives hords of chemical engineers and focus groups have discovered over the decades that they are under no obligation to report. Only within the last week have I stumbled across what I surmise is the answer.

    But I want to hear it from someone else first.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  5. Jun 16, 2009 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    According to Kessler, the magic ingredients are salt, fat, and sugar. It is an issue of proportion. We all know that too much of these ingredients is bad, but he is arguing that the effect of eating too much of these is fundamental - neurological.
     
  6. Jun 16, 2009 #5

    Moonbear

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    I think that's the big issue. People have lost all sense of proportion or portions. Portions that would have fed a family of 4 when I was a kid are now being served up as single-servings. I don't know that I would call the overeating an addiction, per se, though. For some it might be, if they get cravings soon after just having a meal. But I think for most it's more that they just don't get the signal to stop when they've had a reasonable portion size and as long as there's more food in front of them, will continue eating. That's a bit different than forming a chemical dependency where you actively seek more and more and develop tolerance to the positive effects so need more to get the same pleasure.
     
  7. Jun 17, 2009 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    If I understood his argument and findings correctly, he is saying that for some people, it is like forming a chemical dependency. He struggles with this himself and wanted to understand why. But he seems to apply it in a more general sense as well - perhaps to a far lesser degree than in cases like his.
     
  8. Jun 17, 2009 #7

    Moonbear

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    Maybe for some. I'd suspect those some might be the ones who are using food for non-nutritive purposes, such as comfort eating when depressed.

    Though, considering that you can be both obese and nutrient-deficient at the same time due to eating a lot of high calorie foods that lack a proper balance of vitamins, I wonder could it instead just be that they are still craving the missing nutrients, and overeat because their food choices just aren't providing them?
     
  9. Jun 17, 2009 #8
    Just think of what it actually means to have a McDonalds near you. It means that at any instant during the day, you can decide you want to get a very large amount of calories. All that you need is to pay a few dollars and you have more than enough food. A few dollars is absolutely nothing if you're middle class in the US. Food on demand, what a concept! In previous times, in order to get the same amount of calories you would need to have hours of solid work. Now a wave of the hand gets you whatever you need.

    The idea of having an effectively unlimited amount of food at your disposal is very new.

    One thing that's a bit messed up in society is that it's "manly" to eat huge portions, yet we look down upon having a gut. People give me looks when I order a normal portion of food as opposed to something obscenely gigantic. Friends every now and then say things like "are you sure that's enough food?", uhh yeah thanks, I know what I'm eating. Then afterward they say things such as "oh man I shouldn't have eaten so much". Oh really??

    EDIT: I should add that I really am eating enough. I'm 5'8" and weigh 158 or so, I'm obviously not anorexic by any means.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  10. Jun 17, 2009 #9

    JasonRox

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    That's true. Some people look at me all weird if I'm not stuffing my face with food at an all you can eat.

    I eat a lot of food though. All my food is filled with fat and salt mainly.
     
  11. Jun 17, 2009 #10
    Moonie I hope you will correct me if I am wrong here.

    I have heard that it is supposed humans were scavengers, that food sources were relatively scarce, and so the foods most densely packed with the nutrients needed for survival were prefered since there was no telling how much food you might find and how long it would be before you might find more. This supposedly explains why humans developed a preference and pleasurable response to fatty foods. We need salts to remain hydrated (I'm not sure if there are other important reasons for salt in our diet) and I am not sure of any benefit of sugars but fruits and berries which usually contain alot of sugar are also dense in vitamins among other things.
     
  12. Jun 17, 2009 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    An interesting aside: Check out the bio on Kessler. Apparently he was running a hospital while teaching law!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Aaron_Kessler
     
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