Friday, February 22, 2013

Addictive! The Science of Junk Food

Source: NY Times Magazine
My graduate seminar at Virginia Commonwealth University, Contemporary Issues and Controversies in Public Health is now in full swing. 

One of the topics covered in the class, by way of the books Fast Food Nation and Food Fight, is the ongoing obesity epidemic in the USA. 

Here is a detailed and well researched article in the New York Times Magazine focusing on the addictive nature of junk food and the manipulative, scientifically driven tactics employed by the food industry to increase consumption. The manipulative tactics to ''optimize'' the appeal of food through sugars, fats, salt and texture is akin to the practices employed by tobacco companies for the sale of cigarettes.  Food advertisement is aggressive and frequently aimed at children, minorities and the poor. Consumers are crassly labeled as ''users'' or ''heavy users'' of a food product.  

The goal is simple: maximize profit.

The obesity epidemic is real. Healthful eating is a challenge.

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