Why We Love Sugar, Fat and Salt!
In this article, we’re going to explain some of the reasons why we all love sugar, fat and salt so much. And we’ll also give you a few tips on how you can wean yourself off this addictive trilogy of ingredients. The added bonus, of course, is that after reading this, you will be able to control how much you eat. And also, if you’re trying to lose weight, you will find that much easier too!
So, the highly talented food scientists around the world are all scratching their heads, quietly asking each other the same question: “Why did it take so long to develop Salted Caramel Chocolate?”. And similarly, why the delay in creating the “Salted Caramel” version of Baileys? They’ve known for decades that sugar, fat and salt, when combined in just the right proportions, are the most addictive, edible substances on the planet. And, of course, they are completely legal too! Some even say this combination is more addictive than cocaine!
The things we just can’t get enough of….
Why? Because they are the three components of processed food that drive cravings in our brains like nothing else. In his book, “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us“, Michael Moss details how the processed food industry uses prodigious amounts of salt, sugar and fat in foods and beverages.They do it very intentionally, to get the hook in, to addict consumers. In a way, it’s similar to drug dealers really: once you start, you can’t stop! It’s scientifically engineered that way…
The Bliss Point
Adding sugar, fat and salt to food makes perfect sense from the point of the food industry. These ingredients drive over-consumption. Also, because they’re cheap and readily available, it maximises the food manufacturers’ profit margins! And, of course, the fact that the shelf life of these products is almost off the scale, is an additional bonus. The food scientists are constantly searching for what is known as the ‘Bliss Point’. We also have a page revealing some fast food restaurant top secrets and lies.
The Bliss Point and “Blissy Food”
So, a perfect example of a “blissy food” is pizza. The food scientists carefully manipulate the chemical structure of the fats, to enhance their “mouthfeel” – the warm, melt-in-the-mouth sensation you get when you bite into your favourite, cheese-stuffed pizza. The entire experience is engineered to hook you, and it will; not many people can refuse a second slice! You can read more information on Empower Health website.
Why We Love Sugar Fat and Salt
They can all kill you….
One way or another they can each be deadly. Firstly, let’s start with salt: it is said that if you deprive a person of salt, they will die in a few weeks. Conversely, deprive the population of sugar and the top ten cancers on the planet will be eliminated, and of course the level of obesity would spiral downwards….
So, back to salt: a person can only survive for around four weeks without salt, or even less than that, if they sweat. Perspiration is virtually the only way the body excretes salt. Our kidneys are very effective at maintaining salt levels in our bodies. Of course, from a taste perspective, salt is wonderfully addictive. Take a look at Eat Chocolate To Lose Weight page.
Why We Love Sugar Fat and Salt
The smell of vinegar, mixed with salt, on hot fries, is undeniably pleasant. Salt is used to flavour hundreds of dishes. It is both incredibly tasty, and incredibly dangerous. If you consume too much, of course, it can possibly kill you. It is widely accepted that excess salt consumption will result in an elevated risk of both stroke and heart disease. But, at the same time, we literally can’t live without it.
So what about Sugar?
Sugar is so good at disguise, often hiding undercover. Of course it’s easy to recognise that there is sugar in fruit, because fruit tastes sweet. However, how many people realise that there is also sugar in savoury foods such as bread, pasta, potatoes and many root vegetables. Have you ever wondered why fried onions smell and taste so good? Well, it’s all down to sugar: as they are fried, they caramelise! Sugar rots your teeth, and is as addictive as either cocaine, or morphine. And yet we carry on…
Why We Love Sugar Fat and Salt
Sugar encourages the release of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Do you ever find yourself at the end of a bar of chocolate thinking: “Why did I eat all that?” It’s OK; it really wasn’t your fault. It is a very highly addictive substance. Within just a few minutes of eating any carbohydrate/sugar, the ghrelin will be coursing through your veins. At that point, of course, you are no longer calling the shots: it is literally out of your control.
Fat has been completely demonised in the past few decades, and saturated fat in particular. But is it really as bad as we are lead to believe? We associate fat with cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, and high blood pressure because of fat building up in your arteries. However, research has shown that the real culprit in all these condition is actually sugar and NOT fat! The only really unhealthy dietary fat we can eat is hydrogenated, or trans fat.
Fat Tastes So Good!
It’s weird, but in fact we can’t actually taste fat. When fat is cooked, it releases chemicals into the air by the heat of cooking. That’s why you can “taste” sizzling bacon, even before you eat it – because some of the flavour molecules are already in your nose and mouth. But what about texture? Oh well, of course, fatty foods have a special texture and mouth feel. Chocolate, for example, melts at body temperature. When chocolate melts in your mouth, it creates a smooth, full, coating sensation that most people agree is pleasant. It was specifically engineered to do that.
Fats also help distribute salts and other seasonings throughout foods, so that they make more contact with your tongue, and give a deeper flavour. Bottom line: Fat concentrates smells and flavours in food. It gives foods a smooth creamy texture that most of us enjoy. Since fat gives us more energy than proteins or carbohydrates, it makes us feel full faster. This makes our brains release hormones that makes us feel content. Written by Daniela Breitman for earthsky.org.
Why We Love Sugar, Fat and Salt!
For those people trying to either lose, or even maintain their weight, the “holy trinity” addictive combination of sugar, fat and salt requires special attention. Dieters should stop beating themselves up when they find themselves over indulging in certain foods. Evolution dictates that we will always seek out high calorie, high fat foods, to ensure we survive.
So, in conclusion, you don’t need a science degree to know that sugary, salty and fatty foods taste good. Also the ‘love affair’ is not a recent phenomenon; it has been part of our lives for centuries. For most people, these flavours conjure up happy childhood memories of holidays and celebrations, and it’s impossible not to crave these treats on a regular basis. And if you’re feeling stressed out or depressed, the last thing you want to do is deprive yourself of the very things that make you feel better (albeit temporarily). Another issue to remember, stop beating yourself up – sugar produces the same reactions in our brain as cocaine does.
Weaning Yourself off The Junk Food
In the UK, on average, around 60% of people’s daily calories comes from highly processed, or “junk food”. There are two ways to wean yourself off. Firstly, you can simply go “cold turkey”, which some of us might find a bit too drastic. The alternative is to gradually start introducing healthier food choices, over a few days, or even weeks. It’s important to make sure you consume plenty of protein, fresh vegetables and healthy fats. This helps to keep you satisfied and control cravings.
At first, your palette will notice a big difference in the flavour of your food, but over time, you will realise that healthy, unprocessed foods really do taste better. It’s also helpful to plan ahead and make sure you stock up with plenty of healthy options at home. That way you won’t be tempted to grab unhealthy, convenience foods, whenever you feel hungry. A particularly useful tip is to stay away from the centre aisles of the supermarket. Start shopping on the outer aisles instead, because that’s where all the fresh and healthy foods are stored!
And finally, a couple of lifestyle changes will certainly help you stay away from the sugar, fat, salt trap. Firstly, manage your stress levels, and secondly aim to get between 7 and 8 hours sleep each night. Why do we advise this? Because scientific studies have found that people under stress and lacking sleep are much more likely to crave junk food!
You can read further down the page about the work that Martin and Marion have done to help over a thousand people change their whole relationship with food and take permanent control of their weight.
The Top Ten FAQs about Sugar, Fat and Salt
ANSWER: Artificial, low-calorie sweeteners have had a lot of bad press over the years, and some have even been taken off the market at times. However, certain sweeteners, such as Stevia, Erythritol, and Monk Fruit, are regarded as “less bad” than others. This is possibly because they are plant-based initially, rather than being completely manufactured in a laboratory.
Randomised trials have shown modest but significant decreases in weight, BMI, and waist size for people who switched from sugary drinks to artificially sweetened ones.
ANSWER: Artificial sweeteners don’t contain sugar, but they are so many times sweeter than sugar that you only need a very small amount to achieve the same level of sweetness as sugar. They are also either very low, or even zero calorie, and have a minimal effect on a person’s blood sugar and insulin levels.
As with everything, it’s best to be cautious and only consume small amounts, because unfortunately artificial sweeteners can potentially fuel your cravings for sweet foods.
ANSWER: The answer to this question is very simple: the human body cannot survive without salt. According to Harvard Health: “It’s needed to transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscle fibers (including those in the heart and blood vessels), and maintain a proper fluid balance.” A prolonged lack of salt can cause you to go into shock, or a coma, or possibly die.
ANSWER: Individually, sugar is well-known to have addictive properties. But when sugar is combined with fat and salt in the right proportions the result is a highly-palatable food, which triggers the reward centre in the brain to release the neurotransmitter, dopamine.
Higher levels of dopamine can lead to feelings of euphoria, bliss, and enhanced motivation and concentration. Therefore, exposure to substances and activities that increase dopamine can become addictive to some people. (info taken from Medical News Today)
ANSWER: All vegetables contain carbohydrate, which the body processes as sugar. However, different vegetables contain different amounts. A useful way to remember about the sugar content of vegetables is that those which grow above the ground have fewer carbs than those which grow underground.
It’s also worth noting that vegetables also contain a lot of healthy, dietary fibre, as well as being rich in nutrients, containing many different vitamins and minerals.
ANSWER: The largest low-carb website in the world, dietdoctor.com, describes fruit as “nature’s candy” because it does contain a lot of sugar. And, of course, that’s why fruit is sweet!
So, when it comes to choosing which fruit to favour, berries have the least amount of sugar, whereas bananas and grapes have the most.
Fruit is generally regarded as healthy, and something we should all be eating a lot of. However, our hunter gatherer ancestors could only eat fruit for a limited period of time when it was in season – they definitely would not have consumed it every single day in massive quantities!
The sugar in fruit is predominantly fructose, whereas table sugar is a combination of glucose and fructose. If you eat whole fruits the body takes longer to absorb the sugar than when you consume processed, added sugar. Just remember to stay away from fruit juice, because, according to Insider.com, studies have found that drinking pure fruit juice every day can potentially be as much of a health risk as table sugar!
ANSWER: Fat is officially the most filling and satiating food that we can eat. So, you don’t need to eat very much to feel completely satisfied. This also means that although fat contains more calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates, you will be consuming fewer calories overall by choosing higher fat foods!
So, yes: eating fat really can help you to lose weight!
ANSWER: Research into the connection between sugar consumption and type 2 diabetes is ongoing. However, it’s true that obesity and an inactive lifestyle are responsible for 90-95% of diabetes cases, and excessive sugar consumption is a well-known, accepted cause of obesity.
ANSWER: Fat, and especially saturated fat, has received a lot of bad press over the last few decades. In fact fat has been demonised to the extent that people have been encouraged to avoid eating it, and instead choose low-fat options, whenever possible. However, dietary fat is an essential part of a healthy diet.
Additionally, scientific research studies have found no link between saturated fat and increased risk of heart disease. So, contrary to popular belief, saturated fat isn’t detrimental to your health.
But not all fat is good for us. In fact, the most unhealthy fat you can consume is hydrogenated, or trans fats, which tend to be found in commercial baked goods and processed foods.
ANSWER: Harvard Health states that: “Contrary to past dietary advice promoting low-fat diets, newer research shows that healthy fats are necessary and beneficial for health.”
The dietdoctor.com website explains in detail about the link between fat and cholesterol, and how there’s absolutely no need to be afraid of consuming fat, as long as you limit your intake of carbohydrates.
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Imagining a Healthier You
Picture yourself as a healthier, slimmer version of yourself, free from dieting fears and able to enjoy social events with boundless energy and boosted self-esteem. Meet the experts behind the success: Martin and Marion Shirran are clinical therapists with nearly two decades of experience in the weight-loss field. They are the creators of the globally acclaimed Gastric Mind Band Permanent Weight-Loss Treatment. Sharon below lost 60 pounds on the programme.
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A Diverse Clientele Achieving Success
Over a thousand individuals, including medical professionals, celebrities, and the general public, have travelled from around the world to experience their weight-loss treatment. Some sought to enhance their appearance, while others prioritised their health, successfully reversing medical conditions like insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and fatty liver disease.
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Marion Shirran, as a director of Oxford Therapeutics Limited, is proud to be a registered Stakeholder in NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Additionally, she is involved in the government’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity.
We were proud to be nominated the ‘Most Innovative Obesity Psychological Therapy Service’ in the UK Mental Health Awards 2022.
We also appeared on the This Morning TV show, with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
In 2010 we travelled to New York to be interviewed on the Good Morning America TV Show.
We are also co-authors of two bestselling books on the topic of non-surgical weight loss, published by Hay House.
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