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Weight Loss Tips: How the Food Industry Hooks Us with CONVENIENCE!


Hey there, Dr. Angela here.

Today is part 2 of my series of how the food industry hooks us. The first way they do it is by making us crave stuff, and I talked about that in a previous video. The second way they do this is through convenience – and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.

So I want to take you back to the 1950s, the age of midcentury modernism. As a country, we were in full recovery mode after the end of WW2, and we were entering an age of prosperity. We were in the midst of a baby boom, and most married women were working at home, as homemakers and mothers caring for their children. Life was busy for these homemakers, and marketers were eager to find ways to help these women get more done in less time.

Enter a man named Charles Mortimer, the CEO of General Foods, from 1954-1965. I’m going to read a quote of his from a book by Micheal Moss called Salt, Sugar, Fat. In 1955, he told a gathering of household product executives that there was an essential element of life that could be “expressed in a single word: Convenience—spelled out with a capital ‘C.’ ” “Convenience is the great additive which must be designed, built in, combined, blended, interwoven, injected, inserted, or otherwise added to or incorporated in products or services if they are to satisfy today’s demanding public. It is the new and controlling denominator of consumer acceptance or demand.”

There is convenience of form, he said, citing the Gaines-Burger dog food patties that are invented to be as soft as hamburger but so durable that they could sit on the pantry shelf until needed. There is convenience of time, like the grocery stores throughout America that were starting to stay open in the evenings to accommodate increasing numbers of women who worked outside the home. And there is convenience of packaging, like beer in bottles that used to have to be hauled back to the store but were now disposable.

“Modern Americans are willing to pay well for this additive to the products they purchase,” Mortimer told the executives. “Not because of any native laziness but because we are willing to use our greater wealth to buy fuller lives and we have, therefore, better things to do with our time than mixing, blending, sorting, trimming, measuring, cooking, serving, and all the other actions that have gone into the routine of living.”

Suddenly, time-saving products started arriving in the grocery store that helped the modern homemaker trade a little more of her new wealth for some extra time away from the kitchen. Ready-to-bake biscuits appeared in tubes that could be opened by merely tugging a string. A food scientist named Al Clausi developed a special instant pudding that could be mixed with milk and would set in 15 minutes, without spending hours in the kitchen stirring the pudding over a pot of boiling water. Clausi also reformed that ubiquitous breakfast drink everyone loved so much but took so much time – orange juice. No longer did Mom have to squeeze oranges every morning, she could just mix some Tang in some cold water and be done with it. More varieties of cereals became available. Tired of boiling and mashing potatoes? Just purchase some instant mashed potatoes. And don’t forget minute rice.

This drive for convenience followed us into the 70s when many homemakers went to work, and the microwave became available. No woman who’s been at work all day wants to think about preparing dinner, so the food industry was right there, ready with precooked meals, or pizzas or frozen burritos that could be heated in the microwave for a near-instant dinner. If you wanted to go out to dinner, but didn’t want to hassle with walking into a restaurant to order food and then wait for your food to be delivered, you could just run through a drive through on the way home from work and pick up your dinner in a bag. As children got busy with after-school and evening sports activities, the drive through became even more important as a way to feed the busy family who had practices to get to and absolutely no time to plan, cook or eat a meal together as a family. Nowadays, you buy your pudding premade and unrefrigerated, and making instant pudding qualifies as cooking!

So, have you ever thought about just what it takes to make pudding gel in 15 minutes instead of hours? Or what it takes to get it to just stay there unrefrigerated on the grocery store shelf until you buy it and eat it? Or what it takes to get make potato flakes that turn into mashed potatoes in a few minutes? Or how to get oatmeal to become “Instant”? Or how to make hamburgers and French fries that can be quickly prepared in a few minutes at your local McDonalds or Burger King?

Well, the answer is chemical additives. Truly, it’s a lot of chemistry. And these food scientists know what they’re doing. It’s convenient to be sure.

But have you ever asked yourself what price this convenience is? I mentioned it in a previous video… research shows that when people eat processed food, they tend to eat 500 calories a day more than they do when they are eating whole foods. The more our standard American diet has been processed, the more weight we’ve gained.

So here’s an idea: Try to eat more real food. Avoid processed foods, and avoid instant foods! Once you get used to it, it doesn’t take that much more effort. You can spend 20 minutes waiting for a pizza to heat up or you can spend 20 minutes chopping some meat and vegetables, and making a stir fry. It just takes a little practice with a knife and a cutting board, a pan, some olive oil and a stove.

So now you understand a little more about the food industry. I hope this helps you to make more informed food decisions. Remember, you are what you eat! Marchelle has discovered this for real, and she really is enjoying the food she is cooking. If you’d like help getting started, download my 5 day Sugar Detox menu, which is bursting with healthy foods that will nourish your body and get you feeling better faster! The link is in the description.

Next time, we'll discuss how the food industry hooks children! Just you wait!

See you next time!

To your health,

Dr Angela


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