Sugar, salt and fat

May 25, 2011 | 11 comments

A few weeks ago, I read an article on how snack manufacturers prey upon weakness of consumers to get them to consume more of their snack items. One quote from an observer of the industry jumped off the page to me and sounded alarm bells. Sorry, I lost track of the article and don’t have a link to share with you, but he was quoted as saying that three ingredients–sugar, fat and salt–laden in food, make people want to eat more of them.

Anyone who dives into the cookies, cake, candy, dessert muffins, or ice cream with gusto knows all about the sugar attraction. Consuming salty chips and crackers seem to bring that irresistible, “Hmmm…these taste good. I’ll eat just one more…and one more…and, oh look at that, the bag is empty!” LOL

Well, as it turns out, this seeming insatiable desire for more is not as innocent as it appears. It doesn’t “just happen.” There is a lot of thought behind it. Food scientists, chemists and producers of these snack items spend large amounts of time, money and effort to create it.

When you buy a package of food in the grocery store you’re buying a package of thought, essentially, from a mortal and relative point of view. The question begs an answer, “What kind of thoughts am I purchasing here and preparing to consume?”

On the other hand, Jesus Christ taught us to “Take no thought for what you eat.”

So what gives?

Do we ignore what we consume? Is that what Jesus meant? Or do we need to understand the context and times of his statement to make sense of it?

In Jesus’ time, there wasn’t a large amount of energy, time and effort put into the production and creation of food items like there is today. Oh, I suppose there was in some cases, like in the King’s palace. We have the story of Daniel who refused the King’s gourmet food preferring simple pulse. And in the end of the story, Daniel and his faithful buddies were much healthier than their counterparts eating the delicacies and carefully crafted foodstuffs cooked by the palace chefs. But by and large the general population ate pretty simple food. There wasn’t much to take thought for.

Today, it’s a whole lot different! We have 50,000 items to choose from in the grocery store. Someone is putting a lot of thought into what we eat. And, to be honest, many of us probably put a lot of thought into what we consume.

Anyway, after I read this article, I wondered, “Do I need to be more aware of the huge effort going on behind the scenes in the manufacture of food that is perhaps working against my efforts to demonstrate dominion over the body and appetite in my life?” Specifically, in efforts to control my mind and make me consume items that I would not consume, at least in large quantity, if I was making decisions free of the outside mental influence?

Two days ago, I was driving down highway 101 in Northern California, and a big billboard for McDonald’s French fries blazoned the message, “Gotta have em,” with a hand reaching for yellow fried potatoes neatly tucked in a cardboard container.

Now isn’t that exactly what the expert above was talking about? McDonald’s is specifically advertising the message that we consumers cannot resist the temptation to eat their French fries. We “Gotta have em!”

So, all these packaged snack foods that look utterly harmless are not so innocently packaged. Consumer beware!

I will still eat chips and crackers and cookies and ice cream on occasion, and in moderation, as I’ve always endeavored to do. I don’t think that’s a horrible evil. But I’m much more aware now of counter-acting any suggestion of losing control while eating them. If I do, I’m under the influence of the marketers, and that’s not dominion! Exercising dominion is a good thing. It retains control over the body and keeps mortal mind out of the loop of decision-making.

So, next time you feel like you just “Gotta have em,” with any type of snack food, stop a minute, and first pray to get dominion back over your thinking. Make decisions that lead to responsible actions, and the outcome will be much better.


11 thoughts on “Sugar, salt and fat”

  1. Wow! What a great commentary. That’s one reason I appreciate you so much, Evan. You read widely and find a way to connect current events with Christian Science.

    I think the “whole foods” and “eating local” movements are helping redirect thought to the joy of planting, harvesting, and cooking the simple foods that are good for us. I have gotten back into vegetable gardening again, and what a joy it is.

    Along with not buying the junk desiged to trap and addict us, we ought to be getting back to the basics of buying (and growing) raw ingredients, cooking them with gratitude, and sharing them with joy and love.

    Thank you.

    Elaine in Virginia

  2. I reached your same conclusion about the pull of these substances in food. Once I recognized it, I went to eating unprocessed and natural foods (namely fruits, vegetables and grains) My thought has totally turned around so fast foods have no appeal to me anymore. The natural result has been a loss of 30 pounds, and daily exercise that has become my quiet prayerful time (running). Thanks for this reminder again to be aware of what is presented to us.

  3. It’s always seemed to me that Jesus’ saying, “Take no thought…” meant that we weren’t to worry about not having enough to eat. Getting food in Biblical times involved fishing, hunting, farming. Many, many people did not have enough to eat, especially if they were not able to fish, hunt, or farm because they were too young, too old, too ill. So Jesus’ comment was about trusting God for supply, not license to eat the whole bag of chips or the whole quart of ice cream.

  4. The article you read was most likely based on the book “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” by Dr. David Kessler, former commissioner of the FDA.

  5. In a recent news article about the findings of Dr. David Kessler on the increased use of fats, sugar and salt, he is quoted as saying:

    “The challenge is how do we explain to America what’s going on — how do we break through and help people understand how their brains have been captured?”

    This is another instance of the importance of standing porter at the door of thought.


  6. Thank you for the wake up call! I think the key word is “dominion”. If I keep that word in mind and am alert to whether or not I am eating/buying for pleasure/comfort or if I am exercising dominion over my impulses and only eating when or if I’m hungry, I’ll be exercising more self-discipline, and that will be a big step forward in my overall life experience.

  7. What is food for thought? Is it the mouth-watering picture on the billboard, or the tantalizing colorful pics in the menu, or the coupons promising super-sized value, or the must have tub of popcorn at the movies? Possibly, it’s the fact that man has the unique ability to govern his own thinking, set his own course, and make good decisions. I only hope that I do make the right decisions!

  8. Dear Evan,

    Thank you for bringing this subject up. Some years I read a book by Kevin Trudeau called What They Don’t Tell You and it spoke of the secret chemicals in all “manufactured” food whose sole purpose is to addict the consumer to add to their profits. I found it to be true – you can’t stop eating junk food. You lose your willpower (by design). Once you switch over to natural food, the obsession with food goes away and you truly can “take no thought”. I am so glad to hear that CSers don’t turn a blind eye to this!!

  9. In Rudimental Divine Science, Mary Baker Eddy teaches: “As power divine is the healer, why should mortals concern themselves with the chemistry of food? Jesus said: ‘Take no thought what ye shall eat.’ The practitioner should also endeavor to free the minds of the healthy from any sense of subordination to their bodies, and teach them that the divine Mind, not material law, maintains human health and life.” Rud 12:21-27

    The BEST conversation I have ever heard on this topic is a chat entitled “A new view of the true you: a spiritual approach to body image.” Food represents the goodness of God and should not be feared.  

  10. Interesting subject and comments!
    I have found that as I’ve studied Christian Science, I have lost a lot of appetites-smoking, snacks, etc. Yes, I still have McDonald’s once in a while or other fast food–I don’t make every dish from scratch either! I don’t think about every bite I put in my mouth–just finding things dropping away naturally. Last night we went for ice cream at our favorite summertime stand–neither husband or I liked it very much. Up until this year, we would go every week at least once and love it! This is about the third time this season, and we won’t be going back for a while–the other times this year it hasn’t been so appealing either. I’m even finding chocolate isn’t quite as attracting to me as it always has been! Progress! I’ve also lost almost 50 lbs. in the last couple of years without dieting. So grateful for the natural law of good operating now in all areas of life!

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