Buckle up folks… today’s topic is super juicy.
I think we can all agree that tobacco companies are evil.
Not just because of what they peddle—that’s an individual decision—but how they peddled it.
Well, they may also be responsible for the detrimental health effects of junk food.
In fact, a new study shows these companies followed a similar approach to get people ADDICTED to packaged junk foods…
In the same way they got people addicted to tobacco!
The dark side of your favorite snack
In the 1980s, tobacco giants acquired major food companies, including Kraft, General Foods, and Nabisco.
The result? They dominated America’s food supply and racked in billions of dollars in sales.
In fact, the STEEPEST increase in the prevalence of UPS occurred between 1988 and 2001—the era these companies were owned by Big Tobacco. (Gobsmacked, am I right? But, these guys did write the playbook on legalized addiction…)
Researchers recently poured over millions of documents showing how these companies made their products addictive. Plus, the marketing tactics used to sell them.
Turns out, tobacco-owned foods were 80 percent more likely to contain potent combinations of carbs and sodium, and nearly 30 percent more likely to amp up fat and sodium content, to make them “hyperpalatable.”
Of course, I’ve written about the dangers of these ultra-processed foods (UPFs) before. And this is just further proof that they’re designed to make people crave and overeat them.
Yep, they contain dangerous combinations of fat, sodium, sugar, and other additives that indeed make give them an addictive taste.
Hiding in plain sight
While Big Tobacco no longer owns these food conglomerates, their sly little tactics are still stuck on them. And MAN, do they STINK.
Similar to addictive substances, UPFs contain ingredients from naturally-occurring plants and foods that have been transformed in a way that gets quickly absorbed into our bloodstreams. This boosts their ability to light up the pleasure centers in our brains, leaving us basically drooling for more.
And really, I don’t think there’s a popular product out there that didn’t start with some hidden agenda of a Big Tobacco CEO.
Take Hawaiian Punch, for example. They were able to turn it away from a cocktail mixer into an astounding children’s drink with sly marketing tactics…
And during the low-fat craze (or the dark ages, as I like to call it), Nabisco introduced its wildly popular SnackWell’s cookies…
COOKIES that tricked consumers into believing they were enjoying a fat-free treat. Do you see how absurd this is?
I could go on and on with examples here—there are many and they’re equally as sinister and shocking as the next. (Even as recent as in 1985, when tobacco executives were instilled to launch initiatives to market sugary drinks and processed foods to children and minorities.)
So I’ll end with this…
When will we wake up?
Many of the health problems we face have been initiated by Big Business, yet continue to thrive because of consumer laziness and ignorance.
And while I understand food addiction is real and can be hard to overcome, I encourage you to start making healthy choices little-by-little. I did it, and I know you can do it too.
Adopt a healthy, balanced diet, like the Mediterranean-style diet (or the ketogenic diet, as we discussed yesterday). An easy way to avoid addictive UPFs is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store—or head to a local farmer’s market.
“US tobacco companies selectively disseminated hyper-palatable foods into the US food system: Empirical evidence and current implications.” Addiction, 2023. (doi/10.1111/add.16332)
“Many of today’s unhealthy foods were brought to you by Big Tobacco.” The Washington Post, 09/19/2023. (washingtonpost.com/wellness/2023/09/19/addiction-foods-hyperpalatable-tobacco/)