Dr Oz: The Ingredient Hiding In Your Grocery Store
We know that fat is addictive, sometimes as powerful as drugs. We are addicted to sugar in America, where we also love our salt and fat. Most Americans take in 60,000 calories per year of fat per person, just from cheese! Dr Oz said that fat is a popular ingredient added to favorite snacks from almost every aisle of the grocery store. Learn how fat affects the brain and how you can break the cycle.
Not only is it addictive, it also helps to keep foods shelf stable and preserve them to last longer. New York Times investigative reporter Michael Moss, the author of Salt Sugar Fat, joined Dr Oz to talk about invisible fats at your favorite store.
Dr Oz: How Fat Hooks You In Foods
Moss said that fat gives us more of an energy kick that sugar. It is also versatile in terms of flavor and texture, keeping you eating more. Abstract fat on its own does not have a taste, Dr Oz said, but Moss found that increased fat makes foods more attractive.
This is called “Mouthfeel,” which is what helps to make foods more enjoyable, so that they literally feel better in our mouths. It is used in everything from chips to hot dogs, and Moss thinks of it as an opiate.
Experts compare fat-rich foods to addictive products like tobacco. While sugar could be compared to meth, Moss said that fat is more subtle, maybe like an opiate, because its effects can sneak up on you.
Dr Oz: How Fat Affects the Brain
What does your brain look like on Sugar? It lights up the reward center of the brain that makes us feel pleasure. Compared to a brain scan of a person who ate Fat, the spot looked the same. “We have been fooled to think that only sugar was addictive,” Dr Oz said.
At some point, however, we will be satisfied with sugar. That is not always the case with fat, and Moss told Dr Oz that there is something of a conspiracy within the food industry. Food manufacturers know that increasing fat content makes consumers buy more, which is why they keep adding it.
Dr Oz: Reducing Fat in Processed Foods?
The largest culprit of fat in the American diet today is cheese. These days, cheese is found in a variety of forms, instead of in blocks like years ago. Cheese is also a part of many packaged snack foods. But are they just giving consumers what they are asking for?
Michael Moss said that the food industry is just as hooked on salt, sugar, and fat. Attempting to lower the amounts of these things at the same time can really affect the flavor and texture of foods, making it a difficult proposition for manufacturers.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association sent Dr Oz a statement, part of which said this:
“In the last decade, we have introduced more than 20,000 new product choices with fewer calories, reduce fat, sodium & sugar… This includes the elimination or reduction of saturated fat in more than 6,600 product choices…and an overall reduction in trans fat…”
Dr Oz: How To Avoid Fat At the Grocery Store
What can consumers do to shop smarter at the grocery store? Michael Moss said that stores are designed to get us to make spontaneous decisions. Watch out for the eye level shelves. Check packaging to avoid products with four or more grams of saturated fat per serving. Moss also advised Dr Oz audiences to fill up on protein instead of fats.
“We are hardwired to eat fat,” Dr Oz said. “You need to satisfy your fat cravings sensibly.” He said that low fat foods don’t work, so his advice was to eat cheese, for example, on its own, savoring the taste. Then switch to another taste, such as water or even a sip of wine.
Get more information from Michael Moss in the paperback edition of Salt Sugar Fat, out now.