Food Marketing Matters

07/02/2014 01:54 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2014
young woman eating potato chips ...
young woman eating potato chips ...

Not only does the government refuse to adjust a ridiculous food pyramid that's left more than one-third obese and two-third overweight, but they fail to regulate marketing and advertising efforts that should be illegal. Aside from the fact that companies can put "no trans fat" on their products if they keep the level under 0.5 grams, cereal companies can partner with heart associations and add "lowers cholesterol" to their box, and corn starch-filled yogurt brands can creatively market a probiotic from rat feces. I'm referring to the lack of regulation of in-your-face advertising. I'm pretty sure you didn't want a donut when you woke up, or a bag of Doritos and a 2-liter cola when you walked into the grocery store. As much as corporations can claim that it's personal choice, it's clear that we are impacted by food advertising.

With the addictive properties in wheat, fructose, and sugar, it's nearly as bad as waving a bag of crack in front of Tyrone Biggums!

Various research studies have shown that food cues activate reward centers in the brain. Unfortunately, these reward cues are heightened by the added sugars and sweeteners in the products that are heavily marketed to us. Researchers in France determined that the sweetness added to these foods surpasses cocaine reward and produces a dependency.

Not only the "Want," but the "Want to Eat MORE."

The protein found in wheat is broken down into amino acids called polypeptides that are permitted access to our brains (pass the blood-brain barrier) and attach to morphine receptors. This produces a euphoric feeling when consumed, which makes us crave more in the future, and even eat more now. In one study, binge eaters were put in a room full of food and:

Those with the receptor blocked ate 28 percent less wheat containing snacks (pretzels, crackers, etc).

In a similar study, individuals were given free reign to eat whatever they pleased in a cafeteria, and:

Those with the receptor blocked, ended up consuming one-third less food at lunch and one-fourth less food at dinner.

As I illustrated in an earlier post, fighting these food cues is even more difficult for individuals that are struggling with excess fat. It's not only harder for them to lose because of resistant cells and fat specific hormones, but they have less motivation to do so.

The government refuses to control our exposure to these distorted messages, yet they have no problem turning around and pointing the finger at us for being fat.

"It's your fault! You eat too much and don't exercise."

Interestingly, when the food cues are positive, those attempting to shed the fat consistently make better food choices and are able to ignore junk food and other snack foods successfully.

A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity found that:

Discretely giving obese individuals health primes before entering a grocery store reduced their snack purchases by 75 percent.

So it appears the marketing works both ways. Especially in those that are struggling to lose, who unfortunately are more affected by these unregulated marketing messages. The question is, which cue will the consumer see?

If the government won't help, perhaps it's worth priming ourselves?

Surprisingly, those health and fitness magazines we all love to hate even improve our choices. Maybe it's time to put the magazine rack at the front of the store?

Without a doubt the pop and chips should be at the back. If it was up to me, they'd be in the garbage.

Stay Lean!

Coach Mike

In his Live It, NOT Diet! plan, Mike recommends eliminating specific foods for the first few weeks to fully cure your addiction. Those following this strategy achieve amazing results, but more importantly they maintain them long after they've gone on their own.