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Food Addiction as Bad For You as Tobacco?


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#31 weinoo

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:21 PM

That's such a false argument.  


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#32 gfweb

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

The Lunchables that I remember aren't so bad nutritionally. Crackers, lunchmeat, cheese, some fruit maybe, a cookie?...sort of a deconstructed bag lunch. They are expensive for what you get, but not the horror that has been implied.  I can think of worse things to feed a kid.

I just went to the Lunchables website, and randomly picked the "Light Bologna and American Cracker Stacker" box that has no drink. 320 Calories of which HALF are fat calories. 50% of calories from fat isn't good nutritionally.

I happen to be a devotee of the South Beach Diet so I am not fat-phobic - but I am very conscience of what the major source of those fats are. I also pay attention to the balance between fats, protein, and carbs.

Also addressing the busy parent syndrome excuse: When we were raising our daughters we both worked (still do) and still prepared real food that we cooked. They got a fast food meal about once a week. And we ate dinner together - it was a priority.

I just went and looked at one of the meals with water. The ones that come with water ALSO come with a Kool-aid packet to add to the water. That makes it sugar water in the end.

A 320 cal lunch is probably less than what most of us get from our sweetened coffee during the course of the day and certainly is less than the typical lunch. Yes 50% was fat, but 50% of a fairly small lunch is still a fairly small amount of fat. Do school lunches do as well?  I doubt it.

 

Not that I'm a defender of Lunchables, but come on, a slice of pizza is worse, a couple hot dogs are worse.

 

Kids ain't vegans.



#33 annabelle

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

What is?  That your mayor is a loose cannon?

 

Kids need to eat more fat than adults.  It's a fact.  Eating a Lunchable once in a while isn't going to put them in an early grave.  Eating at a kosher deli is probably more harmful in terms of fat, salt and sugars.


Edited by annabelle, 26 February 2013 - 12:41 PM.


#34 Mjx

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:47 PM

Food companies are all about making money, it's no surprise that they're having R&D and marketing do their damndest to create something irresistible. And feeding children significant amounts of food that's going to damage their health is clearly irresponsible, unless it happens to be the only alternative to starvation.

 

The thing is, if someone decides to have children, they're responsible for prioritizing their well-being, even if it involves a hell of lot of frequently thankless work. Regardless of what food companies do, parents, not food manufacturers, are responsible for most of what their kids eat. No one want to see their kid's eyes well up with tears, or have a screaming meltdown (depending on the kid's preferred negotiating style) because they want to eat a bucketload of crap and the parent is saying NO, but that's just part of being parent.

 

Can I see decent parents caving in and letting a kid eat maybe one of these a month? Sure. Nothing wrong with occasional crap.

 

If these showed up in a kid's lunch box several times a week, I'd start wondering about the parents (Are they silly/weak enough to really believe their kid when she says 'I hate you!' because of the lunch choices? Do they simply not think their kid's health is worth the hassle of arguing about lunch?)

 

For Lunchables to be cheaper than making an analogous lunch from scratch, the quality is just not going to be good. Plus, the ones with fruit are only ones that don't look guaranteed to to give Junior a promising head start on chronic constipation.


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#35 Porthos

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:52 PM

I'm advocating that food prepared (and thus controlled) at home with healthily-balanced nutrition is better for our children than the majority of commercially prepared foods. And just for giggles, not for insult - I take my coffee black.


Edited by Porthos, 26 February 2013 - 12:55 PM.

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#36 weinoo

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:57 PM

I don't understand why anyone is bringing city governments/mayors into this thread - or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for that matter.

 

I started off by referencing a piece of investigative journalism that ran in the NY Times, and which was written by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. That piece uncovered the fact that in 1999, many of the major junk food manufacturers' CEOs met to discuss what they knew was a looming health crisis affecting millions of people. They also knew that some of their food products might be considered a major contributor to that same health crisis, especially affecting young people, who would then become customers of those products for the rest of their lives. 

 

They knew the products they were making were addicting.  The article draws a parallel between the addictions to certain foods the same way people might get addicted to tobacco.  Interestingly enough, tobacco was often marketed to young people, even though the tobacco companies knew their product was perhaps bad for an individual's health.
 

I asked what people thought. I asked if anyone has tried lunchables.  No one is taking away your peanut butter and jelly. No one is taking away your hot dogs.  No one is taking away your bud light.  As a matter of fact, no one is taking away your fucking cigarettes either.

 

They're just letting you know that if you smoke them, you might die from them. That's all. 


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#37 annabelle

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

Jeez, settle down, Mitch.

 

Fwiw, taxing my cigarettes is trying to take them away ($10 for a pack of coffin nails in NYC last I was there) while using those taxes to pay for little Timmy's healthcare is hypocrisy at its finest.  If anyone was unaware that cigarettes were bad for them, they obviously never coughed themselves half to death when they were learning to smoke them or heard people who smoked refered to as 'nicotine slaves' in song and slang since at least the 1920s.  Likewise, alcohol has been known to be bad juju since biblical times and no one, but no one likes a drunk. 

 

Prohibition didn't work then and won't work now no matter what is being prohibited.  There will always be a Black Market.

 

This is just a part of the same argument on this board that always boils down to the "There oughta be a Law!" crowd versus "I'll Make My Own Decisions!" crowd. 

 

I used to love a pretzel unabashedly called "Mr. Salty".  Tell me that wasn't on the level? 

 

Those Lunchables cost nearly $4 a package.  That's a lot of money for a lousy lunch.  School lunches cost $2.50.  A home-packed lunch--if you don't live in Chicago where they confiscate them--cost about the same as a school lunch. 

 

There is a lot more to this discussion than Lunchables, starting with the title of the article which is a serious red herring.  I don't care if the writer has won a Pulitzer Prize, either.  The Pulitzer has rather lost its shine since three or four of them have been given for what was later found to be bogus reporting.

 

You asked some questions.  I answered your questions and you don't like my answers so you are mocking them.  Same as it ever was.



#38 Jaymes

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:28 PM

As far as I'm concerned, Annabelle is dead right to "bring city government and mayors into this thread."  To leave them out would completely negate whatever points have been argued regarding culpability.  I'm sorry, but if you've identified a problem, and a culprit, and you want a solution, I see no way to enforce it other than with the full strength of the law.  How would you suggest we do it?
 
If your argument is, as it seems to me to be, that the fault lies not with the parents, but rather with those evil corporations, and you want it changed, how would you recommend we do that, except for passing laws and punishing companies that defy those laws?  Leaving that out of the equation is just like the ol' who's going to bell the cat. 
 
And I'm also with her on who is to blame here.  The parents.  Period.  That's it.  The parents.  I suppose you could advance an argument that schools that have eliminated P.E. are adding to the problem but again, if parents demanded more physical activity in their local schools, they'd get it. 
 
But unless someone can prove that the food companies are putting addictive heroine into the food and not mentioning that on their labeling, that's not where the blame should be placed.  It is absolutely incumbent upon parents to absolutely refuse to let their children do anything that the parent believes has the potential to harm them.  I just do not get how any intelligent person that has raised kids would not understand that.  Every single day when raising children, those children are going to want to do something that is not good for them.  And they're going to want to not do something that is good for them.  Every single damn day.  That's the nature of children.  The parent is supposed to be in charge.  So if they're not, you're saying that the nanny government should do the raisin'?
 
Well, I raised three kids.  All are happy, healthy, college graduates with good eating habits, and children of their own that they are raising.  I even sent them off from time to time with a Luncheable, although the money and all that extra packaging irritated me enough that it was only a once-a-month thing, and probably not even that often.
 
But if you nice folks do manage to figure out some way to abrogate the parents' responsibilities to the government, will you please include a total ban on Coca Cola, and all other soda pops?
 
I hate that crap. Speaking of advertising.  And of junk food consisting of water and chemicals and syrup.  And large culpable corporations.  And stuff that is of absolutely no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever. 
 
My kids didn't even know it existed until they were well into elementary school and drank it somewhere besides my home.  So let's ban that crap entirely. 
 
After all, it fits all of your parameters.

And soft drinks are way more responsible for obesity in this country than Lunchables.

Edited by Jaymes, 26 February 2013 - 04:58 PM.


#39 weinoo

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

I'm surprised that all of you perfect parents are sticking together on this.

Wouldn't it have been nice if some of those evil corporations had actually given a damn about the health of some of their customers?

But maybe at some point we'll see warning labels on food like we do on tobacco products...then all those lazy parents have no one to blame but themselves.
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#40 sigma

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:39 PM

ojfc.



#41 annabelle

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:15 PM

Why do we need yet more labeling and oversight?  We've heard all about how nitrates and nitrites in packaged luncheon meats are bad, bad, bad and if you eat them you're a-gonna die! for ages.  Guess what?  Little League snack bars still sell hot dogs and so do MLB stadiums.  My own children have eaten their share of lunch meats and so have I.  My mother practically raised us on fried balogna sandwiches.

 

Groceries prices have risen exponentially in the past year.  Adding another layer of  packaging is going to drive up costs further.  And for what?  So someone, somewhere who possibly didn't know that eating Lunchables every day, multiple times a day isn't a great idea? 

 

I don't know why you're snarking about perfect parents when you have no children of your own, Mitch.  Perhaps your own parents were so perfect that after your birth, they broke the mould?  Parenting is a tough job.  It is trying.  It is exhausting at times.  But there is nothing more rewarding.

 

Corporations aren't evil.  They are businesses and the business of business is to make money.  Not to raise your children.  That is what parents are for and parents say "No" a lot more than they say "Yes" when it comes to a child's wants versus his needs.



#42 heidih

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

Lost a long post so will do the short version-

 

I find the use of the term addiction manipulative by the authors. It is a buzzword with no clear definition particularly as it pertains to food. Please do not tell me craving equals addiction or that snacks are like nicotine.

 

That said - the mental picture of these highly compensated execs meeting to discuss how they will further/differently influence us is disturbing and oddly fascinating as is the thought of them spending billions on researching the next chip we mindlessly down with a "Lite" beer....   Hello world hunger - puke-worthy part of the business world.

 

As to Lunchables since they were extensively discussed - I saw them come home more often then not half eaten- all about packaging attraction but then so is lots of the crud we buy.

 

To me it is all about having folks realize what good food tastes like so that is their preferred default. Yes, in a pinch they will buy packaged snacks but I don't think most of them choose Cheetos over cheddar and crackers. Does a cheeto look appealing to me at times- yup maybe once a year. I do not see that snack as the definition of what I eat



#43 The J

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:35 PM

I'm surprised that all of you perfect parents are sticking together on this.

Wouldn't it have been nice if some of those evil corporations had actually given a damn about the health of some of their customers?

But maybe at some point we'll see warning labels on food like we do on tobacco products...then all those lazy parents have no one to blame but themselves.

Food does come with warning labels.  It's called "nutritional information".  The fact that some people apparently can't read and comprehend the warning label is not the fault of the company.  I'm sure there are people who smoke who are illiterate. That doesn't mean that cigarette manufacturers should be required to put up display stands with auditory warnings for those people.



#44 weinoo

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:19 AM

Kraft has been reducing the amount of slat, sugar and fat in their products for the last 10 years. At least, according to Kraft...

 

 

Lunchables 1.jpg

 

Lunchables 2.jpg

 

 

A new study in rats suggests that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin.


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#45 annabelle

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

The first sentence of that study states that "Scientists have finally confirmed . . ."

 

It is three years old and was printed up in CNN, not a medical journal.

 

Food is pleasurable, it isn't addictive.  We can stop drinking or smoking; we can't stop eating or we will die.


Edited by annabelle, 27 February 2013 - 09:52 AM.


#46 mm84321

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:27 PM

The first sentence of that study states that "Scientists have finally confirmed . . ."

 

It is three years old and was printed up in CNN, not a medical journal.

 

Food is pleasurable, it isn't addictive.  We can stop drinking or smoking; we can't stop eating or we will die.

 

You are mistaken. A substance itself is not what causes an addiction. Be it cigarettes, alcohol, heroin or cheese puffs; none of these things by themselves are inherently addicting. Yes, some substances possess more addictive qualities than others, say, for example, methamphetamine compared to a pack of Marlboros, but that is not how it works. I can smoke a cigarette today and then never think of it tomorrow, whereas someone else may never be able to stop once they start. This is not a matter of the cigarette, but a matter of the individual that must engage in such addictive behavior for reasons that vary. The same principle applies with food. Our brains work in different ways, and addictions can take on a myriad of forms (think money, power, fame, shopping, sex, etc.) To believe that addictions are restricted to things like drugs and alcohol is a pretty grand ignorance of the society we are currently living in. 



#47 annabelle

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:32 PM

Hardly.  There are many theories about addiction and everyone is different as you say yourself.  I don't appreciate being labeled as ignorant since I most certainly am not.

 

It is popular to conflate dependence and addiction.  It isn't accurate, but that doesn't stop people who should know better from doing so.



#48 mm84321

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:36 PM

You said "food is pleasurable, it is not addictive". This is based on the erroneous thought that the substance itself is what creates the addiction. I am telling you that is the wrong way of looking at it. 



#49 annabelle

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:43 PM

I'll appeal to authority here and tell you that one of my degrees is in addiction studies.  I understand the mechanisms quite well, thank you.



#50 mm84321

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:45 PM

That's nice, but it doesn't help to explain or validate your train of thought. You can do that here, if you'd like. 



#51 weinoo

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:48 PM

 
Food is pleasurable, it isn't addictive.  We can stop drinking or smoking; we can't stop eating or we will die.


Really?

http://www.medicalne...ases/220999.php
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#52 heidih

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:20 PM

I doubt people with addictive eating behavior are the target market for the companies - compulsive overeaters suffering from a physical & mental addiction don't discriminate -  generic will do. If scientists had the obesity thing all figured out we would not have a mega billion dollar dieting industry. As I said earlier, I still think it is creepy that they spend so much money and effort on crafting enticement. I also see correlations being made and anecdotal "evidence" that many are being conditioned, if you will, to crave the sugary/fatty carb laden snacks being marketed. 



#53 mm84321

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:34 PM

Well, the whole obesity thing got figured out in the years prior to World War II, but an actual solution to the problem is not so favorable to the industries that are built around it. Same goes for addiction. 



#54 annabelle

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:37 PM

I agree with Heidi.  The disease model of addiction posits that the path of addiction is chronic, persistent, escalating and finally culminating in death.  I am not a believer in disease models of addiction for this reason; there are many alcoholics and drug addicts who are long time sober members of society.  If one can quit a distructive behavior, it is not a disease since the only treatment is cessation of the behavior.

 

I have never heard of anyone turning to a life of crime to support an addiction to food, be it donuts and cappuccinos, David Chang's Crack Pie (a most unfortunate name, and irresponsible, too) or deli sandwiches.

 

The marketing campaign is invidious and I don't care for it regarding the Lunchables.  However, that is how marketing is done, be it food items or Subarus.



#55 mm84321

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:48 PM

I agree with Heidi.  The disease model of addiction posits that the path of addiction is chronic, persistent, escalating and finally culminating in death.  I am not a believer in disease models of addiction for this reason; there are many alcoholics and drug addicts who are long time sober members of society.  If one can quit a distructive behavior, it is not a disease since the only treatment is cessation of the behavior.

 

I have never heard of anyone turning to a life of crime to support an addiction to food, be it donuts and cappuccinos, David Chang's Crack Pie (a most unfortunate name, and irresponsible, too) or deli sandwiches.

 

The marketing campaign is invidious and I don't care for it regarding the Lunchables.  However, that is how marketing is done, be it food items or Subarus.

 

None of this really means anything. 



#56 annabelle

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:01 PM

Well, explain why please.



#57 mm84321

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:43 PM

The thought that the simple act of "quitting" an addiction is the only treatment to addiction is mistaken. If you believe this, you believe addictions are a matter of willpower, and, as Nancy Reagan would have said, "just saying no". Again, this is the wrong way of looking at the problem. We can apply this idea to obesity, and the thought that if people would just exercise a bit of self control and put down the cookie, they would loose weight and become healthy individuals. The current prevalence of obese infants helps negate that theory, as it would be hard to blame a 6 month old for poor lack of self control. The issue here is not one of will, it is hormonal, and in the case of addiction, it is neurological. The way the brain is shaped during early development is critical in this, and that is why you see addiction rates so high in those who have suffered childhood trauma. Of course, this is not a matter of choice. We must understand that no one chooses to become an addict, and that asking someone with an addiction to choose to stop is not possible. The problem lies deeper, and until that is addressed, no progress can be made.

 

But, back to my main point (and what we seem to disagree on), the idea that food cannot be addictive because it is only "food".  The term "food addiction" is misleading, and should be clarified. Of course, people don't become addicted to fish and vegetables, but rather the white foodstuffs, such as flour and sugar, which are in greater abundance now than ever in history. Sugar, in particular, should be the main culprit in this discussion, as it triggers reward signals in the brain which surpass those triggered by cocaine. These are the substances we should be discussing in relation to food addiction. 



#58 mm84321

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:49 PM

Oh, and there really would be no need for someone to turn to a life of crime to support the addiction to sugar. It is cheap, in abundant supply, and can be purchased legally just about everywhere. 



#59 weinoo

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:12 AM

 Sugar, in particular, should be the main culprit in this discussion, as it triggers reward signals in the brain which surpass those triggered by cocaine. These are the substances we should be discussing in relation to food addiction. 

 

Exactly...and the point of my OP and the article is that the fact was known by the corporate CEOs cited in the article.  They met. They chose to do nothing except continue their marketing campaigns toward the most vulnerable.

 

Oh, and there really would be no need for someone to turn to a life of crime to support the addiction to sugar. It is cheap, in abundant supply, and can be purchased legally just about everywhere. 

 

Great point.


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#60 weinoo

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:56 AM

Bittman weighs in...

 

A study published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal PLoS One links increased consumption of sugar with increased rates of diabetes by examining the data on sugar availability and the rate of diabetes in 175 countries over the past decade. And after accounting for many other factors, the researchers found that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher diabetes rates independent of rates of obesity.

In other words, according to this study, obesity doesn’t cause diabetes: sugar does.

The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s. As Rob Lustig, one of the study’s authors and a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, said to me, “You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one.”

 

 

 

 


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