Lay’s Potato Chip’s nailed it, challenging consumers to eat only one potato chip in an advertising campaign that began in the 1960’s. “Bet you can’t eat just one,” Lays suggested.
Frontiers in Psychology detailed a study in which scientists offered rats a choice of standard rat food, a mix of fat and carbohydrates, or potato chips. Hands down, the rats went for the potato chips every time.
The magical combination of sugar, salt and fat found in chips and most processed foods on grocery store shelves, when consumed, trigger the release of dopamine, the brain’s expression of pleasure. Cocaine has the same effect.
But Dr. Dave Barczyk says it too easy to blame the manufacturers.
“We have to break the cycle of saying we’re going to pay more attention,” he says about reading ingredient lists on food packaging. “We can’t just say we’re going to blame these big companies because we say they’re taking advantage of human behavior. We have to be human and read.”
He refers to the magic 5 – the first five ingredients listed, and if any of them are a substitute for sugar, or ARE sugar, take a pass and move on to something else, he recommends. Also look for artificial flavors, which can jack up salt intake, and saturated fats.
It apparently isn’t enough to require companies to put the bad ingredients right on the box.
We have to read it and heed it.