I have blogged about food for some time now. But I will today. I read a fascinating article on ESPN.com of all places. I highly recommend reading it. But here’s the gist of it. The journalist attends a Washington Nationals baseball game with the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and they talk about food. The former commissioner, Dr. David Kessler, has also authored the book The End of Overeating, which was published earlier this calendar year. Kessler proposes that food has actually overtaken our rational decision-making when it comes to food. Essentially, we have been conditioned by the food industry to desire to eat more and more of these types of foods. For Kessler, salts, sugars, and fats from the evil Trinity of food. These have all become so complex and layered in the foods we eat, that the level of conditioning within us has risen several layers. I don’t understand all the scientific stuff behind it, but these foods ignites the pleasure circuitry in our brains, so not only does the food taste really, really good, but it also causes us to desire that food more. Therefore, Kessler suggests that foods loaded with sugars, salts, and fats control our brains to desire more and more of the same, no matter how full we get. This is a scary thought. But I can relate. I do not often have cookies or brownies around the house but every now and again I splurge. When I do have one of these delectable goodies around, I will usually eat one to finish off breakfast in the morning. The problem is though, that I begin to crave another one throughout the day and before I know it, the pan of brownies has disappeared from my stove top . . . and it’s not even lunch time yet.
There were a couple quotes that stuck out to me from the article:
“In America, we don’t just eat to feel full. We eat to medicate and stimulate ourselves.”
“What’s needed is a less hysterical social shift — away from food as a source of psychological entertainment and escape, and back toward food as a source of physical nutrition and sustenance.”
We need to recover food as food, as the life-giving source that it is and not turn it into a form of medication. It’s hard to break our addictions, and sadly, I think too many Americans are addicted to food.