Which Chemicals Make Your Food Irresistible?

Food technologist tests almost 4,000 “tastes” to find the perfect formula that makes certain food hyper-rewarding and hyper-palatable without a distinct flavor to tell the brain it’s had enough. These foods break the brain’s natural instinct to stop eating once it had enough, that’s why Lays chips says “no one can eat just one chip.” Below are some chemicals to avoid (or at least reduce dramatically).

  1. BVO, brominated vegetable oil, in soft drinks keep the chemical cocktail of phosphoric, citric, malic tartaric acids afloat, plus add sugar and caffeine to make it highly addictive. By the way, BVO is a flame retardant. Yuck!
  2. Like our sugary example above, salt is addictive too. Acrylamide is the process of cooking starchy foods at high temperature causing a browning effect that makes it carcinogenic and addictive. That’s why we love chips, toasted breads, fries, etc. Potato chips, for example, have a triple punch of starchy sugar, salt, and fat. Because they “melt down” so easily in your mouth, you brain thinks there are no calories, absorbs the sugar quickly, pikes up blood glucose, and the brain screams for more. Very addictive!
  3. Sodium nitrate is found in cured meats like bacon, pastrami, sausage, deli meats, etc. It’s a preservative to increase shelf life and provides meat a smoky flavor with a pink hue to make it irresistible. This applied to heat creates carcinogens.
  4. Diacetyl and Pentanedione are chemicals used in the buttery flavor of popcorn causing “popcorn lungs” because the chemicals dissipate in the air blocking air passage in your lungs. Also, stay away from microwaveable popcorn not only because of these chemicals but also because of the non-stick chemicals used to coat the bag.
  5. Fast foods are engineered to be addictive with their perfect combination of sugar, salt, and fat. McDonald’s chicken nuggets contain “dimethylpolysiloxane (an anti-foaming agent used in yoga mats), propylene glycol (an antifreeze ingredient) and autolyzed yeast extract (artificially enhances the taste and crave-ability of food). Yuck and triple yuck!

The good news is none of us are born to naturally love fries and hate broccoli. We are just conditioned over years of eating rich, fatty foods to love them. Studies show we can reverse the addictive effects of unhealthy foods and learn to love healthy foods at the same time.

I see it all the time in my office and my clients naturally want healthy food without discipline, denial and regimen. Stop dieting and get a free health consultation to see if this is the right match for you. www.HappyFoodHealth.com or (619) 876-2655.

~Samantha Hua, Nutrition & Health coach, San Diego, CA