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Junk Food in America

In: English and Literature

Submitted By thakidls
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Junk Food

In the essay “How Science Supports Junk Food Addiction,” the author, Cynthia Andrzejczyk, explains junk food companies’ efforts to perfect the taste of their foods and create an addiction for their products. In 1999, a meeting between the biggest junk food companies took place to discuss the problem of obesity in America. Despite the severity of the problem, Stephen Sanger, the CEO of General Mills, stated that his companies worry “was not about good nutrition; it was about what tasted good” (qtd. In Andrzejczyk 375). This statement ended all efforts to make food healthier.
When it comes to taste, junk food companies have it down to a science. Junk food companies have hired specialists to increase the desirability of certain foods. One of these specialists is Howard Moscowitz, a Harvard graduate with a degree in Experimental Psychology (Andrzejczyk 375). Moscowitz’s main goal is getting certain foods to their maximum “optimization” and “bliss point”” (Andrzejczyk 375). The “bliss point” of a food is the best version of itself. This bliss point is normally the culprit for fast food addiction. It gets you to the point where you need to eat more because it tastes so good.
Potato chips are deemed as the “perfect junk food” (Andrzejczyk 375 . However one of the biggest issues, associated with potato chips, was people deemed them unhealthy. In 1957, potato chip sales were dropping off. Ernest Dichter, a psychologist, found that the reason for this drop off was that people felt guilty eating potato chips because of how unhealthy they are. With this, Frito Lay started reducing the sizes of potato chip bags and changed the term “fried” to “toasted” (Andrzejczyk 375). Potato chip companies also created a variety of flavors to appeal to more people. Cheetos has altered their product to make people eat more. They have come up with something called “Vanishing caloric density” (Andrzejczyk 375). This is what gives the Cheetos that melt in your mouth sensation while also tricking the mind into thinking it is still hungry. Eating Cheetos also fills your brain with dopamine, which then makes the consumer want more. This helps junk food companies create addiction to their products (Andrzejczyk 375).
Obesity has become a huge issue nationwide. It has become such an issue that the government is now stepping in to make changes to stop obesity where it starts; youth (Andrzejczyk 377). Even junk food companies are showing some effort in the fight against obesity. “transfat in some of our most popular chips, crackers, and cookies is gone” (Andrzejczyk 377), and companies are even making smaller serving sizes for their customers favorite, unhealthy, products. Junk food companies have not only increased their effort to put out solutions to the obesity problem, but they have also branched out to start new ones in other countries. Nestle has created a ship that goes up and down the Amazon river selling junk food to the people of South America (Andrzejczyk 377). Coca-Cola has also set up shop in South America, making their drinks more affordable for low income individuals. This move into South America “has resulted in increased rates of obesity among Brazilian children” (Andrzejczyk 378). No matter what the long term affects are of junk food, the companies selling it are always on the hunt to acquire lifelong consumers. These food companies are taking advantage of what they can. The way they still target people in America is by capitalizing on our lifestyles. With less time, less money to spend and more stress, junk food seems to be the answer to today’s problems. This is why knowledge of junk food being unhealthy won't affect their choice because of our lifestyles today.
Our lifestyles play a huge part in this junk food phenomenon. Most people eat these foods because of busy and hectic schedules. People have less time to sit down and eat home cooked meals, and instead snack to fulfill their appetite. With school, work, family and friends, time for healthier choices in food seems almost impossible. This is the reason that, even though people know junk food is bad, people are actually eating more (Andrzejczyk 376). Many food companies now are giving consumers healthier options when it comes to products they love; but is that enough? As of a couple of years ago, the problem of unhealthy food has become more and more noticeable. All food products at the grocery store have the nutrition facts printed on the back, and by law, companies must put accurate information on there. However, it seems some people do not care to read or ignore them. Just the other day I went to Savemart and the snack isle was packed, while the fruits and vegetable section was almost vacant.
Almost everything now-a-days is very high paced. Which makes it extremely hard to worry about what is healthy, but instead what is more convenient. As a student who works, I see the first hand the difficulty of having a healthier diet. When I go to the library to study, there are vending machines full of chips, candy, and soda. Even at work, I find myself driving to the McDonald’s for lunch instead of waking up early to pack a salad or some fruit, because between studying, work and helping out around the house, I need all the sleep I can get. In the mornings when I’m in a rush, I’ll just pour a bowl of sugar filled cereal instead of cooking some eggs, or oatmeal. Junk food is quick, and convenient, which is almost necessary in today’s fast paced world.
Another way today’s lifestyles effect bad dieting is money. Junk food, although unhealthy, is cheap and filling, especially when compared to organic food. This is also how kids become addicted to junk food. If you’re a mother or father on a low budget when it comes to groceries, buying food that is cheap and simple is the way to go. Every time I go to Savemart or Safeway, the chips and sweets isle is full of deals like “buy one, get one free”, or giving a discount for buying a higher quantity of a certain item. Junk food is also more economical, because it lasts longer. Vegetables and fruits last maybe three to five days, making it more likely to become waste. Making you go to the store more often, spending more money. Most of the junk food in my cabinet lasts at least 3 months, meaning I only throw it out and replace it when it’s finished.
Many people in today’s world experience a lot of stress. Whether it has to do with money issues, school, or relationships, there always seems to be something not going according to plan. Life always has surprises that may not be desired. Some people drink to get rid of their problems, some people use illegal drugs, and some people turn to food. Personally, food that tastes good brings me joy, so sometimes when I’m sad or overwhelmed, I’ll grab my favorite bag of chips and snack. It’s hard to turn down an unhealthy snack when it’s the only thing making you happy at the moment.
In today’s world, many of people’s lifestyles have changed as oppose to the past. With less time, less money to spend and more stress, junk food seems to be the answer to today’s problems. It has become the easy way to cope with these hectic lifestyles that people tend to live. That is why people are less concerned about the health effects it may cause in the future; they are more concerned with the present solution it brings.

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