BLISS POINT

Eating in moderation a fallacy

Food manufacturers have engineered processed foods to be utterly delicious, insatiable and potentially addictive.

In Summary
  • Demonisation of animal-based fat, saturated fat, in particular, led to the explosion of dietary carbohydrates, specifically refined grain and sugar.
  • Is the concept of choice even applicable when it comes to processed foods, if once you start eating, you literally can’t stop?

If you are already overweight, the idea that you can eat ‘everything in moderation’ is a fallacy at best, and a pervasive marketing tactic, at worst, served to you by the food industry.

Most overweight people are carbohydrate intolerant. This means that their bodies are unable to process sugar (carbs) safely and effectively. You would not advise a person with a gluten allergy to eat bread in moderation. Neither would you advise a person with lactose intolerance to consume dairy in moderation. It is, therefore, illogical to advise an overweight, carb-sensitive individual to eat carbs in moderation.

A peanut allergy can kill quickly, but a carb ‘allergy’ can still kill, albeit slowly, via the diseases we have now come to recognise as metabolic diseases, such as diabetes. The trajectory of diabesity can be traced back to the introduction of national dietary guidelines in the western world. These guidelines eventually trickled down to and were absorbed by middle and low-income countries.

The demonisation of animal-based fat, saturated fat, in particular, led to the explosion of dietary carbohydrates, specifically refined grain and sugar. Natural fat was substituted for industrially manufactured fats and oils. Our food environment changed drastically, and so did our waistlines.

I was surprised to discover that there was no robust scientific evidence behind the launch and dissemination of the dietary guidelines. They are not fit for purpose, particularly for diabetics.

The bliss point is the perfect ratio of fat, sugar and salt that optimises the human brain’s pleasure experience. This lab-engineered taste trinity then bombards the pleasure centres in our brains with such ferocious intensity, that we cannot stop eating. The more we crave, the more we eat. The more we eat, the more profit they make.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. Refined grains and sugars result in high glucose and insulin peaks. Insulin is the predominant fat and sugar-storing hormone. Over time, over-exposure to insulin renders the body unable to safely dispose of blood glucose into cells and tissues. This sets off a chain of events that leads to insulin resistance – the hallmark of metabolic diseases, like diabetes. Eliminating these foods must be a priority for diabetics.

As an anti-sugar campaigner and a fervent advocate for a low carbohydrate way of eating, I was delighted to see a number of international dietary associations finally acknowledge the utility of low carb diets as a safe way to lose weight and control diabetes.

Most of the big players in the food industry advertise their fake foods such as soda, chocolate bars or sugary cereals, with the slogan ‘to be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle’. This pervasive marketing tactic shoulders the responsibility of weight control on the consumer and blames them for any weight gain.

The idea of eating addictive food in moderation is a fallacy because processed foods are created to be irresistible – a concept called the ‘bliss point’. The bliss point of processed food is the point at which food reaches the level of being as delicious as possible, yet not so satisfying that we don’t want more.

The slogan ‘to be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle’ seems to suggest that we can exercise away our food sins. This is evidently untrue because we simply do not have enough hours in a day to out-run a poor diet. It is not a simple matter of eating less and moving more. When we eat less, we want to move less. Similarly, when we move more, we want to eat more, not less.

The bliss point is the perfect ratio of fat, sugar and salt that optimises the human brain’s pleasure experience. This lab-engineered taste trinity then bombards the pleasure centres in our brains with such ferocious intensity, that we cannot stop eating. The more we crave, the more we eat. The more we eat, the more profit they make.

Food manufacturers have engineered processed foods to be utterly delicious, insatiable and potentially addictive. These foods essentially hack our brain’s biochemistry. We are continually being advised to consume less processed foods. How is this possible, if biochemistry determines behaviour? Is the concept of choice even applicable when it comes to processed foods, if once you start eating, you literally can’t stop?

In addition, the slogan ‘to be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle’ seems to suggest that we can exercise away our food sins. This is evidently untrue because we simply do not have enough hours in a day to out-run a poor diet. It is not a simple matter of eating less and moving more. When we eat less, we want to move less. Similarly, when we move more, we want to eat more, not less.

What we must do is drastically change how we eat. Nationally, this necessitates turning the food pyramid on its head, ie advising the public to significantly cut down on refined grains and sugars and encouraging more vegetables and animal-based protein and fat. As I have discussed in a number of previous articles, natural fat is safe, delicious and has never been causally linked to bad outcomes. It must be re-introduced to our plates.

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