Food is Addictive Part 2!

 

Recently, there was an important study about food and addiction. This study showed that rats’ brain function when permitted to consume oreos would react similarly to that of an addict on drugs such as cocaine. The scary part is that the rats would eat the center of the cookie, which is white cream. Of course, the food industry is disputing the findings. These types of finds have been outlined in many books such as The End of Overeating, Born with a Junk Food Deficiency, movies such as Fast Food Nation, and Forks over Knives etc. Is this important? It is because there is a focus on personal healthcare accountability and shaming of those overweight. (See my post Who are you calling fat, Willis?) Large multinational food organizations engineer food via product development to be addictive to humans on purpose. The research via rats supports the argument of obesity as a disease such as addiction, which is a disease. Let’s look at an example that is faced by some Americans every day.

Here goes. Retailers across America sell a known addictive productive such as oreos or another processed food. It is accessible everywhere, however some communities have limited access to alternative non addictive/healthier products. Citizens unknowingly consume this product resulting in becoming addicted, obese, and sick, however there are no resources to support detoxifying from this or are there any easily accessible alternatives. Also society will shame this individual for their poor life decisions; however the person knows little or nothing about the addictive nature of the food available to them. In a general sense, this situation is posed to poor and uneducated consumers in some communities across the nation.

The conversation needs to change about processed food, obesity, and health in society.

  1. The food industry needs to admit to engineering products that are in some instances known carcinogenic, addictive, and unnatural products such as “Chicken Nuggets”, potato chips.
  2. Second, institutions need to embrace the medical classification of obesity along with that of food addiction.
  3. Please stop shaming those that are overweight and try to have empathy about their situation.
  4. A public health effort is need to educate and create more access to better food. The solution to this problem is being found in places like Chester, PA and with the former leader at Trader Joe creating profitable and healthy alternatives.

 

See articles below about the addictive nature of the food engineered by companies.

Links:

Rats and oreo article link: http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-oreo-cookies-addictive-cocaine-20131016,0,3166408.story

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?_r=0

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130522095807.htm

Lastly a short video that is very interesting.

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Free Activity and Food Shopping Apps

Free Food/Health Apps

Today we will cover two free mobile applications that help with saving at the grocery store as well as a activity tracker app. First, we will cover Weekly Ads & Sales application. It is a great application that puts the power of coupons, weekly ads, and stores in the palm of your hand based on geo-location based information. You can create a grocery list with prices that will be calculated for you. Also there is an area of the application for electronic coupons that one can show at checkout. It still includes printable coupons for such things as books, beverage, OTC healthcare products, and pet food. The best part is the ability to actually see the weekly paper ad in digital form. Also the stores contact information as well as the integrated ability to get driving directions to the location was included. This is an awesome application. The con is that application loads slowly, so I will give the app 4 out of 5 stars.

The next mobile application is called CellFire. One can see the coupons for a given store as well as save them to their mobile application for later retrieval.  It is a geo-location based reflecting the stores in your designated area.  A great feature is one can put their store reward cards into the application to manage store savings cards. There is a section to see one’s history of savings.  The application is very user friendly and easy to navigate. My main problem was that I could not save my store reward cards into the application. As a result, I can only give the application 3 out of 5 stars. It may be user error with me not being able to save my rewards cards in the app.

Bonus mobile application is the Moves an activity tracker. The Moves application is a great real time tracker of one’s physical activity level. The application makes the distinction among walking, driving, and running. I took the Moves on a short test drive for a day and it was awesome. I will actually continue to use it. It can give you numerical as well as a visual representation of your activities each day. You can compare your workouts over time and notice certain trends. Also this application is very user friendly and always on, so there are not any extra buttons to click to start and stop it. Though I have only tried it for a little while, I give the Moves 5 stars. Most importantly, it is FREE!! It is on both the android and the iPhone platforms. Go download it today!

http://www.cellfire.com/help/ps_help.php

http://www.moves-app.com/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/weekly-ads-sales-coupons-shopping/id425988401?mt=8

 

Who are you calling fat, Willis?

A recent article came out about schools sending parents information about their children’s weight and BMI. See link below. It is an interesting idea that can be tremendously helpful or hurtful depending on its approach. I can see both sides of the argument. However the focus should always be on the health of the kids and their well being. Here are the pros and cons of such a letter as I see them:

Pros:

Healthy lifestyle habits are important to start at young age.

Schools have been monitoring contributing to students’ health for decades such as free student lunches, dental checkups, etc.

Schools and universities in most communities are the center of learning, so why not have them teach students about being healthy.

The nation is dealing with an obesity epidemic especially among children and this may help curb it.

Cons:

This type of potential premature labeling as fat can be detrimental to a child’s self esteem, while being a wakeup call, if there is generational obesity issue in the family.

A child could have a health problem that is the reason for the perceived weight and being wrongly accused of being overweight.

BMI charting and other height/weight standardization charting is flawed.

Schools should not play the role of parents.

There is no easy answer to these questions. As a society, we need mentally and physically healthy kids. Notice that I didn’t say kids that are size 2, but healthy, which will come in different sizes. Unfortunately, we still need to be mindful that we don’t discriminate against groups including those who students may “appear” to be overweight. If the BMI information is used responsibly and judiciously, noting its imperfections, parents and schools can use this letter as a conversation starter to assist in the effort to eradicate childhood obesity.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/08/19/report-fat-letters-necessary-to-fight-childhood-obesity