There’s No Intervention For a Food Addiction

You don’t have to be looking at the bottom of a bottle or at the end of a line to be addicted to something dangerous. You can be looking at an empty plate.

Food science has become so advanced that it can take the table of elements and make it not only edible but also extremely desirable. Why did I eat a whole bag of Cheetos last week without even being hungry? I can’t pronounce most of the ingredients in it, much less imagine what they look like; so why do I crave this frankenstein’s monster of a snack? Here are some food additives that are totally legal and could be as addictive as hard drugs:

  1. Artificial Coloring

Anywhere that you see Blue#whatever, you know you’ve got artificial food coloring. The food coloring itself isn’t necessarily addictive (although it is linked to exacerbating asthma), however, it can trick your eyes into thinking something is more delectable just because of its color. Cheetos wouldn’t be Cheetos if they were dark brown, and Smoothie King’s smoothies wouldn’t do nearly as well if they weren’t bright pink. If you prescribe to the theory of evolution, here’s an explanation as to why bright red is much more appealing than brown:

the Homo line discovered cooking about .2-1.7 million years ago (fire is a pretty difficult thing to date accurately), so before then, the colors of fruits. vegetables, and meat only changed when it rot. Typically, bright colored foods such as fruit, meat, and some vegetables were the most caloric-dense food that a caveman could find. The diet of, lets say Homo erectus, mostly consisted of dark colored roots, nuts, and insects, foods that were low in sugars and fats. So when they came across a strawberry, a food with lots of sugar that could deliver the fat that the caveman needs, that caveman gobbled it right up. This has been happening since the dawn of human existence, so the association between bright colors and “must eat” has been ingrained into the human mind over a span of millions of years. Before food processing, this instinct allowed humans to survive the winters and hunger periods. Now, it’s biting us in our big fat butts.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup

It’s an additive that’s in so many processed foods; it makes food sweeter and more savory. The difference between HFCS and cane sugar is that it has more fructose in it. Some scientists think that the way that the body metabolizes HFCS makes the body more susceptible to becoming obese or developing type 2 diabetes. However, a lot of scientists disagree that HFCS is bad for you. I’ll discuss why scientists disagree on subjects that seem like they should have one definite answer in another post. There have been studies where rats were given a “binge-like” dose of HFCS and then taken off of it; the rats were observed to become anxious after they were denied HFCS, much like a cocaine-user would experience withdrawal. Rats aren’t humans, but I personally believe the claims that HFCS is addictive and detrimental to your health.

3. Aspartame

This is what most diet and sugar-free drinks use as sweeteners. The link between aspartame and cancer is controversial, but any link is enough to scare me. Like many sugary additives, aspartame is addictive and can cause withdrawal symptoms.

4. MSG

Monosodium Glutamate, for long. It looks like a chunky sugar crystal, and it tastes very savory, if you can imagine that. When I first moved to the states and went to an asian market, my parents bought a bag of MSG (you can still get it at asian markets) and I had a little taste. Without a doubt, it’s ridiculously savory and you could put it into anything and it’ll taste good. You can find it in a lot of Chinese foods and just about everywhere else. Some studies have shown that it acts as a neurotoxin and raises the serotonin levels in the brain, literally like cocaine does.

5. Sodium Benzoate

Just stay away from this stuff, there’s barely any controversy about the link between cancer and consuming sodium benzoate in vitamin C-rich foods.  Unfortunately, SB is used as a preservative in soda drinks which have added vitamin C. Just stay away.

There are only a hundred more, but this is enough for today. I’ve had a relatively good week with the diet change. I’m vegetarian 6 days of the week without any struggle and manage to eat vegan for at least 2 meals a day. My biggest hurdle has actually been little amounts of cream and yogurt, which I’m proud of. After a workout, I combed through the ingredients of my protein drink, and it seemed ok, but when I spilled some on my desk and left it there for about an hour, the drops turned into something like a plastic film. Ew? EW? WHY??

Here are the links from which I got my information:


3 Comments on “There’s No Intervention For a Food Addiction”

  1. aapril9077 says:

    This is absolutely crazy! I’m pretty sure I ingest everything on your list pretty regularly. It is unbelievable how little I pay attention to what I out in my body. Also, I really liked the NY times article at the bottom 🙂

    • mzelenski says:

      I know! I think it’s so easy to not be aware of what you eat because you’ll never be sitting there thinking “man, I need my daily fix of MSG” like you would if you were addicted to alcohol. We see something like alcohol and know that it can taste bad, get you pulled over, or even killed if you have enough of it. But a chip will never do that to you, that’s why it’s so hard to see it as a threat. Thanks for the comment!

    • Brittany W says:

      I agree! It’s disturbing what goes into food. It’s such a double edged sword because I love the raw, non-GMO movement, but it’s so expensive! It’s no wonder all the products that contain these cost so little. They get people addicted to their food and can sell more. Plus, I guess chemicals are dirt cheap to make? Yuck.

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