I wrote the Peanut Butter Puffins post in jest, joking around about the power of certain foods over one's willpower. But according to David Kessler and this Washington Post article, there's actually a science behind this phenomenon.
"Kessler, 57, sees parallels between the tobacco and food industries. Both are manipulating consumer behavior to sell products that can harm health..."
Hey, look at that: My Joe the Camel comparison is actually kind of accurate!
This article is fascinating. It not only describes the science behind how food companies can manipulate us into craving foods we don't even want, it also gives suggestions for ways our culture as a whole can possibly solve this food problem:
"What's needed is a perceptual shift, Kessler said. "We did this with cigarettes," he said. "It used to be sexy and glamorous but now people look at it and say, 'That's not my friend, that's not something I want.' We need to make a cognitive shift as a country and change the way we look at food. Instead of viewing that huge plate of nachos and fries as a guilty pleasure, we have to . . . look at it and say, 'That's not going to make me feel good. In fact, that's disgusting.'"
I think it all comes back to my favorite food mantra from Michael Pollan: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
P.S. Another quote from the article: "Not everyone is vulnerable to "conditioned overeating" -- Kessler estimates that about 15 percent of the population is not affected and says more research is needed to understand what makes them immune." I hate these people ;)
(Thanks to MCSlimJB for Tweeting about this which alerted me to this great article.)