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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Musings about food addiction

"We think fast food is equivalent to pornography,
nutritionally speaking."

~ Steve Elbert

Fast food is addicting.

My opinion is that one of the ingredients that the food producers call a flavouring, or call a preservative, or a crop pesticide, is in actuality an addictive substance they have discovered in the last 20 years, that is without any specific flavour of its own.
The perfect drug...since everyone has to eat...and you can add it to anything you sell, because its a drug, not a spice and people can't taste it in their food. Oh, well, unless it happens to have a sweet taste, which all humans seem to like anyway.

Then you invest in various weight-loss products, and invest in fashions that require thinness to look right on someone, and you advertise them like crazy, and you have created a mass dysfunction/hypnotism that you can profit on.

My theory is, that we are a most ingenious people. And when food producers wanted to increase their sales, they thought like this, (well, they probably hired researchers who thought like this):

Most people need about 2,000 calories per day to live on. How to get people to eat more than they need to be healthy and look good? Most everybody (with money) is already eating enough. So the only growth in your industry is with population growth. That's too slow to make much money, so how to speed up market demand? Hmm, so -- lets make people grow. Then they are the repositories for your increased production. They can buy it and store it in their fat cells.

As long as people didn't die from it right away, any modifications made can't be proved to be a poison. You can blame the individual consumer for any ill-effects. You blame their "lack of will-power." Who can prove that isn't the real problem?

I have another theory about food addiction.

Let's say we are so ingenious as to find a way to make food animals grow really fast until the age we slaughter them. This makes financial sense, because the faster the animals grow, the quicker we can sell them and make a profit, so we don't have to keep feeding them longer than we have to until they feed us. (I.e., this keeps expenses down, since with this method we don't let them find their own food.) It doesn't matter if the long-term effects of these changes are unhealthy (such as cancer, diabetes, hormonal changes, neurological changes) because the animals never live long enough to develop these diseases.

This can be done by genetic alteration, or just breeding for super-fast growth (naturally produced growth hormones, or artificially low satiation hormones) adding artificial growth hormones, or by using animal feed laced with addictive substances. It doesn't matter what happens to the stuff once it is in the animal because nobody tests for these things after the animal is dead. Its supposed to just disappear because the animal's liver metabolises it... however, there will probably be traces of this in all the animal's parts. And so humans get the same effect over time...growth, excessive hunger.

One of the ways genes are inserted into animal cells to alter them, is by using viruses. What if the virus passes from the animal's body into ours? And creates humans who are altered to have abnormal growth and weight gain?

Oh, yeah, there is a published a research study that shows that overweight people seem too often to have a certain virus in them...wonder where that virus came from.***

We are just too smart for our own good. So how do we know that this isn't true? Rely on the ones who profit from this to tell us its all safe and good for us? How can anyone prove this hasn't happened to our food industry? And if its so, how do we undo this mess?

* I switched to buying all organic foods two years ago. Its sad because there is not a guarantee that there won't be GMO contaminants in them, and some farmer's can't afford to follow the strictest guidelines, and so I buy from farmer's who say they don't use a lot of pesticides, but who is going to be checking on them to make sure?

* I started buying more locally produced food, because it needs less alteration to make it easier to transport and store.

* I started growing my own food in my small urban backyard. The freshest vegetables that I could possibly taste, picked and eaten within the hour. If you haven't ever eaten something that you picked yourself, you should try this. Its decadently good. You can taste the sunshine still in it.

* I started cooking from scratch more, to avoid buying things that people can add stuff to that isn't strictly food. I enjoy cooking so this has been fun.

I figure that if it isn't nourishment, I am not eating it or feeding it to my children -- it isn't going to be something our bodies have to try to figure out how to get rid of after we eat it.

I can't rely on my taste buds to tell me if something is toxic or not any more. There are so many things that have no taste or smell that are toxic these days. Like natural gas (they add that funny smell) radon, lead, aluminum, flouride, carbon monoxide, ozone, radiation.

It used to be that our noses could tell us if food was spoiled before we ate it. Now we have food that can last 20 years...but might not sustain life anymore. Back then, the only thing we had to worry about was naturally toxic plants, like certain mushrooms. We have cleaner food preparation, but its only "clean" with respect to bacteria and viruses. It's not "clean" with regard to its production, delivery and storage.

The thing is, that anything that is made by someone else is open to having anything put into it that regulations will allow. And as far as I know, there are about 4,000 chemicals that can be added to our food.

The methods our great-grandparents used to preserve foods was generally safe, but each has their own problems. Salt is safe, but too much hurts our blood pressure. Canning is safe if done right (if not, there is the risk of botulism,) but years ago cans added lead to our food through the solder. Jar canning is safer than using metal cans, because the metal can corrode, and the plastic lining of some cans can have a toxic chemical embedded in it. Adding sugar stops bacteria, but sugar causes diabetes, dental decay, and other problems. Freezing is great for 6 months or so, but the energy to freeze things is getting more expensive. Fermentation is generally safe if done right, but sometimes the fermentation is supplemented with processing that damages the food enzymes, as in pasteurization.

Extracting parts of food is commonly done, as in getting oil out of olives, but sometimes this is done using solvents which are toxic, like hexane (a type of gasoline) and leave residues in the product.

I remember the time years ago when all that was in the news about food was the mythical "finger found in a can of food" story. Or bugs in stuff. Well, at least the bugs could live on it as much as we could.

But our food doesn't let bugs survive. Pesticides affect a bug's nervous system. I wonder if they die going crazy. I wonder if someone eats too much processed food if they will eventually go crazy from a build-up of these chemicals. I wonder if someone's liver isn't healthy, and they can't remove toxins from the food they eat, does the chemical build up in us?

This sounds paranoid. Oh, oh. I've now come full circle. Maybe its already happened to me...

They say Indian farmers are committing suicide at an alarming rate because of the way farming is practised now. I wonder if it isn't just that they can't make enough money to support their families...I wonder if it is the pesticide exposure. Or exposure to a crop that has had a virus added to it to insert new genes into it.

Its so easy to insert viruses into people these days. Because we have 23 different vaccinations we expect every man, woman and child to insert into their bodies.

These vaccinations are usually not just one virus, they are combinations of several viruses at once. So couldn't they just add one more to change the entire population within one year?

Is anyone looking into this possibility at all? And how to you create enough security to make sure this doesn't happen? A lot of our vaccines are made in other countries...oceans away from us. How closely is anyone watching?

I'm not saying I know any of this is happening. I just see the evidence of it. I know how the economic system in our country works. Its a free market system that is expected to regulate itself, for the most part, and is driven by a so-called "invisible hand" (which is anyone with money to spend.)

To me this just makes sense. Its logical. Its profitable, its possible with our current technology and delivery systems. So if it isn't happening already, then I think its probable.

Its probably mostly legal. All that you need are some really well-paid lawyers and marketers to create a legal smokescreen. And maybe some well-paid lobbyists to make sure it stays legal, and maybe a spin-miester or two. And maybe just to be on the safe side, to fund your own "research" that has a pre-determined outcome or you fire them.

Investments drive invention. But money, the way we invest it, has no soul, no morality, and is so far removed from its ultimate effects that people who invest have no idea what they are truly paying for anymore. It's too easy to hide behind a wall of paper, board members who are investors in what they are deciding on. We mix investments like we mix viruses. Several into one group that people then invest in. Does anyone really follow the money they invest into every combination fund?

Does everyone believe that what is told them on paper is what is really happening with their money? And how would anyone really check for themselves?

* If I was an investor, I would only invest in places I could go visit myself. I would invest in people and businesses I could trust, and not just trust what they say about themselves to get my money.

* If I was a reporter, I would look into this for at least a year, and not let anyone know I was researching it because reporters can get relocated to dangerous war zones.

* I vote, so I can go to my representative and speak about this. I don't stand to loose any money if things go wrong from people investigating things and regulating things.

* I can support people that are speaking up about this...there are those who risk their jobs to talk about it. I would be careful they aren't just other businesspeople who are trying to take pot-shots at their competition.

* I would be careful not to speak of rumours and gossip as if they were truth, with no proof. I would be careful not to spread fear and panic, but to offer practical solutions, and a vision and direction for change, too. And this is why I say here that this is just my opinion, based on what I have seen personally. We are an ingenious people, and if we are smart enough to create a complicated, convoluted, problem, we are smart enough to figure out how to change course, and to find a fix, and to repair some of the damage we have caused to ourselves.

For we are all in this together. Our grocery money and health care money paid for all this, and maybe our grocery and health care budget can be adjusted to pay to find solutions and to implement them.

* I would hope that there is someone in government who still has an interest in public welfare and safety, who could spare some public funds to do independent research by people who are in a safe and well-paid situation to not be susceptible to bribes and corruption.

* And I hope that the people in the food industry that are working so hard to increase food production use some of their profits to self-regulate, and to do honest research about long-term implications, and to educate their employees about the ethics of food production.

*** Reference:

"Boston (SmartAboutHealth) - According to a new study, a virus may be one of the reasons as to why overweight people can gain weight in shorts periods of time, leading them to obesity.

Researchers were led by Nikhil Dhurandhar from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as they carried out a study on overweight people.

They looked at overweight people who gained weight in short periods of time, and compared them to people of normal weight.

What they found was that a virus known as AD-36 was present in over 30% of those who were obese.

In those who were of normal weight, the virus was seen in only around 10% of them.

The virus harms the body by causing fat cells to multiply, sparking massive weight gain in a short period of time.

Researchers believe this could be a reason as to why overweight people gain weight quickly."

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