Food-like Edible Substances

I love Stephan Guyenet's blog Whole Health Source. He is a researcher who specializes in obesity, metabolism, nutrition and health. I love his Food Reward Fridays where he focuses on food products that specialize in pleasing our palate while bankrupting our health. This past week he focused on Yoplait Go-Gurts.  This particular food item is marketed towards children, is highly palatable (sweet) and comes in under a cover of "health" because it is a yogurt-type food product. This is what Guyenet says about it.
While only clocking in at 70 calories per tube, and not boasting as many questionable ingredients as certain other processed snacks, the second ingredient in Go-Gurt is sugar.  In his book Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss first brings up Go-Gurt in a chapter appropriately titled "exploiting the biology of the child".  This refers to the facts that a) humans are hard-wired from birth to like sweetness, and b) children like sweetness even more than adults. . . . We have a product that is carefully calculated to appeal to children.  Note the brightly-colored familiar characters on the package, and brightly colored yogurt.  Even more importantly, Go-Gurt eliminates the need for a spoon, allowing a child to squeeze the goo directly into his mouth.

Have you ever bought a food item like this thinking it might be semi-healthy (better than a pack of cookies or a candy bar, right?) and figured out afterwards that it really has little redeeming health value at all?

I've done this. As I was converting to buying whole, real foods I started shopping at the health food store. I figured most things in a health food store should be healthy so I gave myself carte blanche to purchase whatever I wanted since it must be good for me. One of my early addictions were cheese puffs. I figured they were made with better ingredients than the more popular Cheetos brand so I could have at them. My ritual became buying a bag every week and eating it first thing when I got home.

And oh, they were good. They definitely hit all the food reward buttons in my head. Yummo! And it took me a long, long time to admit that they didn't really resemble a whole food just recently freshly plucked from the ground. That combined with my corn & dairy sensitivity ended my weekly ritual and reminded me that no matter what I should buy food that was closest to its natural state as possible.

I keep working on it.


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