Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 26, 2013/ 15 Nissan, 5773

Food giants engineering the recipe for obesity

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) I'm certain Sarah Palin spoke for many when she tweeted upon hearing the news that a New York judge had prevented implementation of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's efforts to regulate sugary drinks:

"Victory in NYC for liberty-loving soda drinkers. To politicians with too much time on their hands we say: Govt, stay out of my refrigerator!"

No doubt those "liberty lovers" view dietary habits as a matter of free will and personal responsibility. If only things were so simple. There's no question that most of us can do something about our weight. Two solutions are as old as time: Exercise and make your own dinner. But the science and research being used by food manufacturers are making it harder to stay non-obese, let alone get thin.

If you want to know why one in five kids, and one in three adults, is considered clinically obese, while 24 million Americans are afflicted by type 2 diabetes, and an additional 79 million have pre-diabetes, it's partly because the food manufacturers have your number. They've succeeded in getting you hooked on foods that are readily accessible and inexpensive. So argues Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Moss in a new book called "Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Moss calls those key ingredients the "pillars of processed foods," and told me that the "most perfect version" of a food in many palates is often a combination of the three.

It's not that the food giants are nefarious. It's that they've gotten too good at what they do. The food they're making is hard to resist, at a time when too many are increasingly sedentary. Consider that, in 2012, Taco Bell sold 375 million Doritos Locos Tacos Nacho — that averages out to more than one million per day.

OK, so we all know fast food is best eaten as a last resort. But even when you're running through a supermarket after work on the way home to have dinner, you don't stop to appreciate that the product you are thumbing was literally hatched in a lab by a process called "optimization," where food engineers alter a litany of variables and use science and mathematics to come up with the very perfect formulation that will "send people over the moon," according to Moss.

Not only does this processed food taste good; it has a long shelf life and is inexpensively produced, creating $1 trillion per year in grocery sales in the United States. To Moss, an even more revealing figure: 60,000 — the number of different products found in large supermarkets.

Moss details the sophistication of the methods used by Howard Moskowitz, who holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Harvard, as he worked for Cadbury Schweppes to create a line extension for Dr Pepper:

"Howard, a legendary figure in food science, walked me through his recent creation of a Dr Pepper flavor, and it was extraordinary the effort that he put into coming up with a version, a formula that was guaranteed to fly off the shelf. He doesn't call his food invention a food invention; he calls it engineering, and for a great reason."

Looking for the "bliss point" involved 61 distinct formulas, which were then tasted nearly 4,000 times in four cities. That's how Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper was born.

"The food companies really convincingly argue they have not intended to make America obese or otherwise ill, and they consider nutrition to be part of their agenda, along with convenience and price, and that any one single product can't be blamed for the obesity crisis or diabetes or high blood pressure, et cetera, but collectively there is no question that the companies themselves now know and hold themselves accountable for at least part of the obesity crisis, and I think they're at a tipping point here."

Moss is optimistic that people such as Moskowitz who know how to invent foods will now turn their attention to making foods healthier. In the meantime, there are steps we can all take, besides diet and exercise.

First, you need to appreciate the science and research that have been committed toward getting you hooked. Second, act on the empowerment — you still decide what to buy and what to put in your mouth. Third, attempt to navigate the labels, specifically the box titled "Nutrition Facts," mindful that a "serving size" might not match your own habits (one Oreos serving size equals three cookies; one Pringles serving size equals 16 crisps). Fourth, not everything that sounds healthy is.

"Some yogurts have nearly as much sugar as ice cream, and yet they carry this halo of health, and I think you can see this on a number of fronts in the grocery store," Moss told me. "Fruit is something you're seeing splashed across the labels increasingly, and when you look at the details often it's a smidgen of fruit added or fruit concentrate along with a whole lot of sugar. So companies naturally try to market their products with their best foot forward, and to play to consumer concerns, and the halo of health from yogurt and fruit are great examples of that."

One final caveat for boomers. Moss told me a fascinating story about Frito-Lay. Its marketers had initially assumed that, as baby boomers aged, their snack consumption would decline. Instead, they figured out in the 1980s that we started eating fewer meals and began snacking more.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Michael Smerconish writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Previously:


03/07/13 He wrote the book on keeping the fires burning
02/05/13 Making policy palatable with food and drink think
12/19/12 In defense of the DJs
12/17/12 Key to election --- stocks, not jobs
12/11/12 United Airlines' post-9/11 commitment to security rescinded?
11/01/12 Good reasons to revive draft
09/25/12 If Romney loses
04/19/12 Christie will get GOP nod in 2016
04/06/12 Romneys not only family with embarrassing stories
03/08/12 Here's an easy fix for King monument quote
02/28/12 Valor-medal lie as free speech
02/21/12 Now we know: Van Halen's M&M rider was just a test
02/14/12 Life inside the (class) bubble
02/09/12 Rethinking paths to wealth
01/17/12 Romney must face his work history head-on
01/11/12 Don't let those gift cards be a gift to retailers or the state
01/03/12 Headlines hoped for in 2012
11/09/11 Romney, beware: Cain may bob through the straits
11/02/11 Where there's ad smoke, there's … what?
10/20/11 After husband is murdered, 30 long years of phone calls
10/13/11 Black women should only marry out of their race?
08/31/11 Some political gaffes really say something
07/27/11 An overture of candidates' theme songs
06/28/11 Where's the app for common sense?
06/02/11 Over-scrutinizing lives costs us potential leaders
04/19/11 Taking a chance to say, ‘Hi’
04/06/11 Race policies should be altered to reflect new demographic reality
11/10/10 Delaware's independent, but short-lived, voice
11/03/10 Papers should leave endorsing to others
10/21/10 Media help to hype perception of bullying
09/23/10 Officer down, killer hyped up
08/04/10 Documents highlight Pakistan's shortcomings as a U.S. ally
07/06/10 On taking back Sept. 11
06/29/10 Name elite corps to develop energy independence?
04/21/10 New account reinforces a serviceman's valor
03/11/10 Medical profession must police itself better
02/18/10 One-trick athletes
02/09/10 Active, retired law officers should be able to carry guns on planes to help stop terrorists
02/04/10 How to bring tech up to speed
01/28/10 Campaign donations must be fully and immediately disclosed online
01/07/10 The flying emperor still has no clothes, and no one is willing to say so
12/24/09 A law to mandate college football playoffs?
12/17/09 Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech
11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety
10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast