Did you know that there are people whose job it is to find out what will make you eat more, and then produce that very thing?
They are called menu scientists, and they are in search of your "bliss point" -- "a nirvana of the taste buds triggered by particular amounts of salt, sugar, and fat" that sends you reaching for just one more handful -- and then just one more after that. And maybe another after that. When they come up with a food that encourages you to overeat, they plop that dish front and center on your favorite chain restaurant's menu. (Ever wondered why so many foods these days seem to come with bacon and cheese? That's no accident.)
Former FDA commissioner David A. Kessler, M.D., has written a new book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Rodale, 2009), in which he dissects this very thing. The ingredients that combine to make your brain happy actually act in the same way a drug would -- kicking your pleasure sensors into overdrive and making you crave more.
Women's Health magazine has a great story about it and, even better, they've remade seven of our favorite noshing foods to make them not quite so dangerous: Cheese Fries, Potato Skins, Buffalo Wings, Spinach Dip, Chicken Fingers, Garden Salad (yes, garden salad) and White-Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino. They've made substitutions and cutbacks so that you can enjoy your favorite comfort food without doing so much damage:
And to think I thought the evil part of potato skins was the sour cream!
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