Why you shouldn’t blame yourself for your food addictions

If you’ve ever inhaled a family-size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in one sitting, well, don’t be too hard on yourself. The fact of the matter is that we have a lot less power over what we eat, and how much of it, than we realize. Behind every successful mass-marketed cereal, snack, and dessert are manufacturers that have spent copious resources tailoring our favorite foods specifically so that they keep the dopamine—a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure—flowing. These appetite signals served a key purpose for our ancestors, as they encouraged consumption of high-energy foods necessary for survival. But now, companies develop foods specifically to stimulate these craving chemicals and induce addiction-like eating patterns. In a new book, journalist Michael Moss unpacks the various ways that companies hijack our appetites through biology, marketing, and even deceptive nutrition labeling. Read The New York Times’ book review here.

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