5 Min Read
A Simple Habit That Reveals What Food Companies Want You to Ignore
It's a weeknight after a long day at work, and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner when you get home. In a moment of weakness or laziness, you decide to hit the drive-thru of your favorite fast-food chain. You peruse the light-up menu and consider which numbered "value" meal will be tonight's fare. After choosing the number three meal, you pick a diet soda as your drink option to ease your mildly guilty conscience.
You realize that fast food was a poor decision but acceptable since you Googled the nutritional information a couple of years ago. That was the moment of truth, or so you thought. All those calories and carbs packed with sugar and sodium weren't really as bad as you expected. It's okay to have fast food every once and a while.
You fell victim to the illusion of the industrial food industry. The nutritional facts are the sleight of hand directing you away from their dirty little secret. They trained us to look at easily manipulated numbers. Most people ignore the small details like serving size and notice only those details in large, bold print. But that's still not the trick.
Like any great magician, food companies, with the help of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), purposely direct your attention leading you to believe in transparency. It says, "You can trust us. We wouldn't hide anything from you." After all, you're a savvy consumer, and you read labels. The truth is that what they don't want you to see is hiding in plain sight. It's the list of ingredients!
Have you ever heard someone say that you wouldn't eat sausage if you knew how they made it? Butchers traditionally make sausage from scraps. It's the less quality meat ground with extraneous pig or cow parts all neatly packaged into a tube for your enjoyment. Yum!
Industrial food companies would prefer you not discover what's in their sausages, cookies, dressing, cereals, burgers, fries, drinks, etc. Fortunately for us, the law requires a list of ingredients on all commercially sold food products. Every packaged food in the grocery store has the ingredients listed somewhere. We simply ignore them and choose to look at the nutritional information instead.
Why don't they want us to look at the ingredients? Butchers don't want us to see them making sausage because it's gross, and we won't want to eat it. Food companies don't want you to see a long list of chemicals with unpronounceable names. Most of the items we buy today barely qualify as food. They're a chemical concoction engineered to light up the pleasure centers of our brains and provide hits of dopamine.
Tip #1: If the packaging says it's healthy, it's probably not.
Would you eat this?
Let's conduct a little experiment called, "Would you eat this?" We will give you the details of three popular foods in America, and we want you to decide whether or not you would eat them.
- Chicken (boneless skinless chicken breast filet, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], enriched bleached wheat flour [with malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika], water, nonfat milk, egg, fully refined peanut oil, with Dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foam agent added), bun (flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], water, sugar, yeast, wheat gluten, contains 2% or less of each of the following: soybean oil, salt, cultured wheat flour, vinegar, calcium sulfate, ascorbic acid, enzymes, wheat starch, monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, DATEM, soy lecithin, potassium iodate, soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, natural flavor and beta carotene), pickle (cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, alum, potassium sorbate [preservative], natural flavors [dill emulsion], polysorbate 80, yellow 5, blue 1
- Carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, citric acid, taurine, natural flavors, sodium citrate, l-carnitine, panax ginseng root extract, ascorbic acid, caffeine, sodium chloride, niacinamide, riboflavin, guarana seed extract, inositol, glucuronalactone, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanobalamin.
- Vegetable oil (Soybean and/or Canola), Water, Sugar, Salt, Nonfat Buttermilk, Egg Yolk, Natural Flavors, Less Than 1% of: Spices, Garlic*, Onion*, Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Modified Food Starch, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial Flavors, Disodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid, and Calcium Disodium EDTA Added to Preserve Freshness, Disodium Inosinate & Guanylate. *Dried
So, which ones of these foods sound like something you should put into your body? Do you recognize any of these amazingly popular foods?
Tastes like chicken
The first item on our list is the famous Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. With a whopping 55 ingredients, it looks more like a science project than a piece of fried chicken with pickles on a bun. Now you know the secret recipe. Try making that at home.
One hour energy
You should already be aware of the fact that energy drinks are basically carbonated chemicals. A cup of black coffee might not be as cool as drinking this Monster Energy Drink, but it does the same thing without the harmful ingredients.
On the side
Ranch dressing is rapidly becoming one of America's favorite condiments. You might put it on a salad, but mostly we love to dip everything from a carrot stick to chicken wings in this, the most famous of them all, Hidden Valley Ranch dressing.
Now, not every product is a demon food waiting to capture your soul. Some companies want you to read their ingredients because they take pride in offering quality food. These are usually small, independent producers of limited items.
Most people don't realize that five massive food conglomerates dominate the aisles of your grocery store where the packaged products live. You may think you see foods from hundreds, if not thousands of brands, but that's also part of the illusion.
The fast-food industry in the U.S. alone generated over $200 billion in 2019. In 2020, the market size of the U.S. packaged food industry is just short of a trillion dollars. That's trillion with a T! These industries spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on one thing - getting you to eat more of their processed junk.
Tip #2: Eat whole foods with simple ingredients.
Don't fall for their illusion. Take your food seriously and look at the ingredients.
Look for more "Would you eat this?" products in the upcoming editions of the Anther newsletter. Don't get the newsletter? Sign up here.
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