You aren’t the only one who can’t stop eating that bag of chips even when your mind tells you to put them down. We are playing in a game that we are designed to lose.
The struggle to eat healthy isn’t just one that is based around your will power but also based around biology.
Decades of research and production have produced foods that are high in fat, highly palatable, and low in cost. These foods are highly addictive - you all know that feeling of polishing off your kids leftover cookie or goldfish!
Your body craves these things and it’s no wonder that the food industry wants to capitalize on our evolutionary make up.
I will discuss a brief history of food science as well as some tips to help you fight against those cravings of sugar, salt, and fat!
Where did this all start?
Let’s take a look at our nomadic ancestors...aside from their “simple” lives (no bills to pay!), they had to figure out what to do with food and their food supply. They did not have refrigerators to help preserve food for a long time.
Instead they needed to focus their whole day on the hunting and gathering of different food sources. If they went a day without eating because it wasn’t a successful hunt, so be it.
Times were simple - you would eat what you can find and you stored whatever vegetables and fruit you could before they went bad. There were no uber eats to call and deliver you food - you had to earn it!
Our biology was designed to be able to survive long without food and still produce energy. Going into fat storage for glucose enabled people of this era to remain healthy while overall food quantity was at its lowest in history.
It’s rare that you saw any diabetes, or heart disease during this era!
During pyramid times the staple for their diets was bread and beer. Sounds awesome right?! I know some of you out there can probably maintain a diet on just bread and beer!
The power of bread is it’s longevity of life. Bread was able to last over some time and therefore was a much more valuable food to create and eventually consume. Bread is the most common and widely consumed food throughout history.
Don’t feel bad that your love for bread is so deep - it’s just part of our evolution!
The Middle ages…
Making a big jump ahead to the Middle ages we see people ate much more meat. Those who are rich were able to enjoy beef, venison, and pork.
You can almost see the big long table filled with various meats, wines, and bread. The middle ages were great for the rich, but not so great for the poor who normally would consume one meal a day that consisted of a porridge that included some type of grain, vegetables, and maybe meat.
This is really the first time we get to see how access to food was determined by class and wealth.
Most importantly - today we’ve seen a huge shift to affordable food. In 1917 the average family spent about 60% of their income just on food alone. Move 15 years into the future and that number drops to 35%.
Food access begins to even out and reach those with less money and resources.
Okay so why is this important..we are in 2020 damnit!
The most important takeaway with the history of different eras is that the food itself was made to be eaten quickly. Food was not able to withstand time, there were no indestructible twinkies then!
How food has become big business
It’s no wonder that you can’t walk down a city street, turn on the TV, or scroll through social media without seeing some ad for a food product. Being brought up in the 90’s I was bombarded with messages from Pepsi, McDonalds, Caprisun (loved the commercial!)...all foods and drinks that are part of this big food experiment.
The focus is no longer about getting proper nutrition but instead selling to the greater masses.
Now I'm not saying that big businesses like the food industry are necessarily a bad thing (they need to make money and pay their workers just as any other company) but instead I’m curious and aware of the products that have kids, and parents frothing at the mouth!
Companies pump money into their research development to aid in producing food that is highly addictive. The more addictive a food, the better business you are in! It’s no wonder why some of these big food companies are some of the biggest corporations in the world.
Everyone needs to eat and everyone wants to enjoy their food!
Using our biology to make a profit
These huge companies have the funds and the ability to create products that are high in fat, high in sugar and high in salt. These properties in food light up our brains in pleasure.
Think of how you feel after you eat that cookie or potato chip. You feel really good - you get that dopamine hit that is triggered by the combination of these tastes. After one bite, the urge to continue to eat is heightened and you begin to over indulge.
The next thing you know the bag is done and you feel like crap.
What do you do next? Maybe grab a soda to wash it all down and again experience this dopamine hit that is aided by the sugar in your drink.
Before you know it you’ve consumed over 600 calories in what you would describe as a “small snack” before getting ready for dinner.
If you can relate to this - know that this isn’t totally your fault!
As we spoke about above, food during ancient times was more for sustenance than it was for simply pleasure. They didn’t have scientists behind them creating super addictive foods in their labs. They just need to bake some bread and drink some beer!
Times have changed yet our biology remains the same.
Remember though that you are fighting against these companies that spend millions of dollars researching in a lab the most addictive, tasty products.
The power of science built food
You won’t find many foods in nature that have both a sweet taste, a hefty crunch and a creamy texture. These properties beg you to eat more because of its variability.
Think about a piece of spinach...spinach is a nutrient dense food that is very low in calories but also very boring in taste. Spinach can be bitter for those who are not used to eating it. Spinach does not change its taste as you eat more if it. It’s just the same taste every time.
As humans we tend to seek novelty - we search for things that keep us interested and “lit up”.
For example as mentioned above think about how a twix candy bar has several taste properties. First you get that initial crunch of the wafer, followed by the sweetness of the chocolate. Oh wait, there's more?...how’s that smooth creamy caramel taste?
If you just compare taste alone - the spinach cannot hold a candle to the twix bar.
Every bite into the twix is like a new experience - one that you may discover a new taste or texture because of how jam packed with sugar, salt, and fat it is.
What ends up happening is the overconsumption of this crap! Which then start to show itself in the mirror and when you put on those pair of pants that are just a bit too tight now!
Regain your power, regain control
This sounds like a losing battle right? Trying to limit eating the very foods that are created to be so good they become addictive. From chocolate bars to cheese curls. How do you combat all that delicious goodness? It can feel impossible at times. Well it’s not. We are going over how to win the battle with addicting snacks.
How can we take on food products that are designed by experts in the snack industry with the goal to create tasty snacks that become almost irresistible? From taste to texture, your favorite snacks were engineered to keep you munching.
If you want to regain your control over your biology - you need to be proactive with your decisions! Let’s go over a few tips that will help you break from the cravings and sugar addiction.
Be aware of what you are eating (Write what you eat!) : The simple act of awareness is such a powerful tool that these food scientists cannot compete against! These addictive foods are usually paired with mindless eating. IF you want to regain control, start writing down every time you dive into the bag of chips or cookies. Write down how many you eat and review it each night. I promise you, you will be less likely to overindulge simply by being aware of how much you are eating.
Keep highly addictive foods out of sight: If you can’t find that bag of chips easily and quickly, you are less likely to overindulge. What I mean to say here is the proximity of these foods will impact your behavior. If the chips are either not in the house, or high on a shelf that you need to climb a step stool to get - you will be less likely to eat it! Make it difficult to eat!
Eat quality meals with plenty of vegetables, and lean protein: This one seems obvious - eat meals that will fill you up! If you aren’t hungry you are less likely to go for the snacks that you know give you that pleasure. This isn’t to say that it’s not possible to eat ice cream when you aren’t hungry (I know I fall into this category a few nights a week!). You know those days when you haven’t eaten in 5 hours and are ravenous. Your body will want to dive into those go-to snacks that will lead you down the path of self-sabotage!
Set boundaries for snacks: You can set a day and a time to enjoy your favorite snack. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the cookie or chip itself - it’s the propensity to over consume and eat too frequently. If you mark a day on your weekly calendar when you can have X amount of Oreo’s, you’ll be able to better control the intake of it while also enjoying the pleasure associated with the Oreo.
Drink water instead! - Too many people don’t drink enough water. Sometimes during that 4PM pre-dinner time you find yourself hungry. In some cases your body is really just thirsty instead. Drinking water may help subside your craving!
Have healthy snacks available - Remember all that talk about high fat, high salt, high sugar...well, not all snacks need to have these properties to be enjoyable. Store quality snacks in your house to help stave off the temptation to just reach for the addictive foods. Instead choose foods like nuts, cut up veggies, and hummus to help fill you up but not over-stuff you. You’ll find that these foods will be better able to manage the over consumption, keeping you in line with your weight loss goals.
Find support! - As always , support from a coach, a spouse, or a friend can be the most vital part to overcoming cravings. When you need to report to someone about your misguided decisions with snacking - it’s much harder to face another person and tell them that you failed at what you wanted to do better in. You can set up a system in which you text or email that person when you have that craving. That person can remind you that you are in control and that you are better than your cravings! This is all about regaining control over your eating habits!
I hope that this article did not get you to start feening for some Oreo’s, Twix or McDonalds!
Keep in mind that these cravings are not fully your fault but instead a culmination of years of research and development that are working against your health.
In the end, these companies and products don’t care if you get sick with diabetes or have a heart attack. That’s just the simple truth - they aren’t in the business of helping people.
They are in the business of addicting you, hooking you on their product and not letting go in order to get a nice return and profit!
We at Forever Fit Method are in the business of helping you fight against these food scientists. We strive to help crush cravings, increase self-control and support big time life change!
IF you are looking to add huge support and guidance to your personal team - feel free to message us on facebook or instagram!
Build your team, create the life you want!