In Why Modern Foods Hijack Our Brains, a review of David Kessler’s “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite”, we learn:
The book is brimming with disturbing truths: because modern meals are ultra-processed, for instance, we consume far more calories than we used to, but chew much less. (One food industry expert calls our ultra-palatable fare “adult baby food.”)
This baby food phenomenon, coming from a culture that has given itself over to the industrialization of a large majority of its diet, is blamed on…are you ready? Skill:
The modern diner’s troubles began, he says, after World War II, when agricultural advances led to an increasing supply of animal proteins, butter and vegetable oils. We began to mix and match flavors and textures with greater skill, and by the 1980s, a third of American adults weighed too much. Since then, food scientists have honed in even more exactly on the tastes that make food irresistible.
What the reviewer misses—and perhaps the book does too—are the fundamental differences between a culture that takes it upon mothers to nurture their children—the cult of mama—and a culture that allows every-growing industrial crap food producers to do it.
There’s nothing wrong with baby food, even sweet baby food. We humans are given cravings for sugar because sweetness is an indication that a fruit or vegetable is good to eat. Poisons, even mild ones, are often bitter; best to avoid them. But when we become adults and no longer put everything we see into our mouths, we are weened off sugary pap, usually by our mothers. Mature culture has come to know what’s good to chew and eat. This knowledge opens a whole new variety of food goodness to adults—and expands the variety and availability of dietary intake. It’s all good.
This is why I like the Italian way. Sure, boys are mamma’s boys until about 30, but at least they learn what’s good to eat—and are gladly supplied with it. You can engineer food to make it taste good; even moms do that. But a mother’s desire is to see her offspring grow up big and strong. That’s different than the motivation of the crap food industry.
Industry is about growth. It’s about getting people to consume more. An industry whose stock is traded on the stock exchange cannot for a single second make policy that limits growth without the risk of the price of stock falling until it’s worth less than the company’s real assets. Death, in other words. If a population stops growing, an industry must get them to eat more. Engineering skill my ass. Call it survival.
Trust your food production to ever larger industrial entities and you’re liable to see idiotic things like sugary hamburger buns, not to mention sugar in your “Italian” salad dressing. Are we there yet? You bet we are. If you’re never weened off sugar, getting profit out of your eating habits is, well, a piece of cake.
Industrial crap food producers don’t want you ever to stop craving cheap ingredients like sugar. Heck, it keeps forever and you can get it processed by folks forced to live on low wages; why wouldn’t you inject it into everything you want people to eat?
Me, I’ll take the cult of mom any day of the week.