Next time you can’t take your hand out of the chip bag to save your life, you can chalk it up to science—because food technology is making you fat.
Well, technically food is making you fat: specifically chips, ice cream, doughnuts… basically, everything delicious!
But the reason why these edibles are so hard to put down and stop chewing is because they were designed to be addictive.
Think about it! Last time you walked past Subway, you probably got a whiff of their bread, and maybe it made you stop inside. If you did, the tactic of pumping out the aroma to passersbys in hopes of attracting customers worked.
That’s right: the same country with a $20 billion weight-loss industry also has $40,000 devices that simulate a chewing mouth to create the perfect chip that will make you need to lose weight in the first place.
If this sounds crazy, that’s because it is. The biggest culprits beckoning your taste buds are fatty foods that promote crunch and can be eaten by the mouthful (better for packing more in). Potato chips’ triple-threat of salt, fat and sugar literally reward your brain. Giving bacon an extra kick is sodium nitrate, an addictive chemical igniting that “yum” factor.
Aiding food technologists’ in the fight to make us eat more is the art of chewing. People are spending less time actually chewing their food in order to shovel more into their mouths—down from 30 or 20 chews to just 12 today.
Handfuls and mouthfuls are small matters compared to gulping, which half of Americans do to soft drinks every day. To create the perfect blend of cherry, vanilla and Dr. Pepper, Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper is tested for dryness, gumminess (whatever that is?) and moisture release.
The biggest takeaway? Don’t punish yourself too much for grabbing that extra handful of chips, crackers, or whatever it is you’re eating. Somebody somewhere paid a lot of money to inspire those extra few bites.
So if you can’t curb your cravings, it’s not your fault. It’s science!