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I Can't Stop Eating Potato Chips . . . .

Monday, February 25, 2013

. . . and now I know why. They were manufactured to appeal to our inherent addiction for salt, fat and sugar (yup, the simple carbs in potato chips are metabolized as sugar).

What product could produce more profit for the food industry? And more obesity for those of us who cannot resist.

Michael Moss's new book is getting lots of press and lots of coverage here at Spark People too. ROSEWAND had a recent blog with the link to the lengthy New York Times article: this morning's Toronto Globe and Mail has a great short interview:


We need some salt, some fat, even some simple carbs for quick brain fuel. For our hunter/gatherer ancestors, all of these were hard to come by: travelling to ocean salt flats, hunting down fat animals, climbing trees for honey or cultivating grain for breads.

Salt, fat, sugar: we're biologically programmed to crave them so that we would expend the greater efforts required to meet those nutritional needs. Our biology hasn't changed much. But now they're cheap and readily available to be thrown into the grocery cart at the supermarket. In super sizes. Which are super sizing us.

I can't stop eating potato chips. (They have perfect crunch too: 4 pounds per square inch! Clever food scientists!!)

Sigh. As far as I'm concerned, potato chips might as well be crack cocaine. So it's best for me if I don't even start. Not even one.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    The things I know I can't stop eating once I start I just don't buy and leave them at the store. It's so much harder to eat them when I have to make a special run to the store. Candy and cookies are my downfall.
    1903 days ago
    My secret to stop eating them, was to stop buying them. We are not on a first name basis so they can not call my name, but especially if they are not in my house emoticon
    1903 days ago
    How true!
    1903 days ago
  • KANOE10
    Thanks for the information. I am planning on getting his book. The trinity is all too true..sugar, salt, fat lead to addiction ..chips.
    1907 days ago
  • NANCY-
    One thing that has stuck with me is from Michael Pollan's Food Rules:
    ~ Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. ~

    This means I can have it... but do I want to make it. For chips there is a microwave version and I won't even bother with that.
    1909 days ago
    Interesting - not my favorite food - generally too greasy, but I agree, if you are a 'chip addict', you can't eat just one.
    1909 days ago
    Definitely a no no in the shopping basket.
    1910 days ago
    I'll do chips (or crisps, since we're in Oz) - but only a small bag, or a shared small bag. Because otherwise I could eat an entire large bag by myself. Without blinking an eye.

    Definitely my crack cocaine!
    1910 days ago
    For this very reason I have great compassion for those addicted to tobacco, alcohol, and other things. I understand the "can't stop" feeling. when I experience it with trigger foods it is upsetting and scary to me.

    Sometimes my kids offer me new packaged food items and I don't dare even taste it. I have said, I will be happier if I don't know what that tastes like. One example is salted caramel which appears in coffee drinks and various treats. So far I remain in stubborn ignorance of its flavor. Butter, sugar, salt......I know ahead of time that it's kryptonite for me.
    1910 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Amazing so many like Pringles those tastless pressed mash of processed product little resembling a real potato. Nothing beats the super crunch and flavor snap of Kettle brand chips!
    For sure can't stop at just one, got to be the whole bag.
    1910 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    More food for thought, pun intended. I enjoy reading and thinking about your finds. Thank you for sharing.
    1910 days ago
    Michael Moss will be a guest on "Fresh Air" tomorrow on NPR. I heard the bit about the "perfect crunch" of a potato chip on a sound bite advertising the show. Yeah, clever food scientists, and ignorant consumers!

    I too cannot even eat ONE potato chip or I'll continue eating until the bag is gone. Of course, I'll portion them out one ounce at a time...all night long...into the night...into the morning if need be! But they will be GONE!

    Weirdly enough, my husband can buy a zillion cannisters of Pringles and I'm not even tempted.
    1910 days ago
    There's obviously something odd about me. I don't much like them! We call them 'crisps' in the UK, and I particularly don't like Pringles! Horrible things!
    1910 days ago
    Oh those crunchy potato chips. My mouth is watering. Sigh. I'm with you. Best not to start.
    1910 days ago
    This is what Dr. Kessler wrote a few years ago!
    Makes perfect sense to me.
    They formulate things precisely to get us hooked.
    Our only choice is to go with fresh produce and protein sources!
    1910 days ago
    Me too. I was addicted to pop corn for many years. Now it's potato chips. Yes, need to stop at 0 because 1 always leads to another!
    1910 days ago
  • DALID414
    Hence the great commercial line: Betcha can't eat just one!
    1910 days ago
    I've been shouting this from the rooftops: "What if we take all of the marketing and the scheming and the psychology that goes into selling junk food, what if we used those same techniques in selling carrots?"

    We could collectively be made to drool for our next broccoli fix! Seriously! Fuggedabout freedom of choice...our "choices" are groomed all the time by bazillions of advertising dollars which are not spent foolishly. Let's put this practice to work for our BENEFIT!

    That and let's stop subsidizing (here in the USA at least...probably other countries aren't stupid enough to do this) the least healthy foods around and artificially making them less expensive. Let's subsidize the freggie industry and make THEM artificially less expensive! We'd save MEGA-BAZILLIONS in health care dollars!

    1910 days ago
    This is a continuation of Kessler's The End of Overeating. I know that many people say that if they have to cut out foods they crave they'll just end up bingeing, but I have to cut out some things totally because the craving begins with the first bite more than the simple desire. There are a lot of things I don't eat at all. Oh well.
    1910 days ago
    Shall I show you the empty can of Pringles from last night? Those darn things even fit perfectly on my tongue and yes, they were "on sale." They're ALWAYS on sale and I had them in the house since the grandchildren were visiting.
    There they were and in a moment of weakness I just finished them up. Sigh!
    1910 days ago
    Yep, I know what you mean
    1910 days ago
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