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Junk Food Addiction


It is not uncommon for me to get a serious craving for chocolate chip cookies in the afternoon or salty chips before bed. I love this stuff! And, according to foodie science, I may actually be addicted. Clever bakers and chefs of today are not whipping up batches of cookies like grandma used to make. Modern day commercial food is put on the shelves after much research to design a recipe that’s guaranteed to hook an unsuspecting customer and have them coming back for more.

All it takes for me is a little bit of salt with a splash of fat fried up to a crispy texture and I’m done for. But just the mention of “fat” is out of fashion. It is the social faux pas of modern society to admit absolutely adoring fat packed unhealthy foods. Corporate food giants like Kraft, Nabisco and General Mills know exactly what I’m talking about. They were just a few big food businesses present at a high summit to hash out the details on how to deal with this new trend of fighting obesity.

Considering the dimensions of the Pillsbury doughboy, it’s easy to see the uneasiness of the CEO’s of this companies. After all, they are part of the obesity problem. One could say they were the great enablers of all of these poor addicts they have created. Rather than sell dope on the corner, they have their dealers slingin’ up samples of the latest Twinkie recipe at all the neighborhood grocery stores. Just try it once and, like heroin, you can’t live without it.

Can you imagine the freak out level of these food executives if governments actually decided it was in the best interest of public health and levied something like a sugar tax? The idea has actually been broached. Could it really happen? It makes me think of cigarettes. Back in my wild teenage rebellion days I could get a pack of smokes for a buck and some change. Now, because government wants to discourage such an unhealthy habit, they tax it out the wazoo. A person has to really be seriously addicted to fork over five bucks for a pack today. For the heavy smoker who goes through a pack a day, that’s an incredibly expensive addiction, a $150 a month addiction to be exact.

I may have to start cookie hoarding very soon. At my local convenience store there is this little ninety-nine cent cookie pack I get sometimes for a treat. I can see it now. I go in one day to get my cookie fix on. I pick up my little snack bag and approach the counter. The clerk gives it a scan, the register makes a little beep, and the number 5.00 shows up on the digital read out. I swoon. I cry. I whine, “I have to have my cookies.” The clerk rolls his eyes. Some poor soul in line behind me pays for my darn cookies just to get me out of the way. Humiliated, I grab my cookies and hotfoot a path to the nearest exit. As I walk away I hear everyone mutter, “Yes, a cookie addict.” Or, “That sugar tax has sure caused crime to increase with all of these cookie addicts unable to afford their fix.” Or, maybe this one, “Poor woman. No, actually, if she’s got kids, poor kids. To have a mom hooked on cookies.”

What is this world coming to! We must all say no to a sugar tax! We must all just look the other way when food addicts are munching their chips and reveling in the dopamine rush of a sugar high. Don’t blame the addict. Blame the chemists who came up with these devilish recipes that have taken over the lives of so many people.

Like the heroin addict I know my bag of chips is bad for me. I know it is designed to only create a hunger sensation within thirty minutes of that last chip so I will go rummaging through the cupboards looking for more. I know that I am weak and will eat that entire family size bag of cheese puffs if I open it up at the beginning of a good movie.

Before you judge me, poor cookie and chip addict that I am, take a good hard look in the mirror at your own self. Chances are you are an addict to. At least half of you that are reading this probably are. In America about half the adult population is overweight. About 40 million adult Americans are considered obese. Even worse, the kids are gaining on the grownups. In 1999, there were as many as twelve million obese American children. I tremble to think how many there are now.

Before the fat food goes, however, we will first see the demise of the food advertising industry. That’s what happened with cigarettes. Can you imagine sitting through an evening of televised entertainment and all that’s advertised to stimulate your appetite are commercials of juicy apples and crunch celery? Hey, it could happen. Judging from the history of what happened to cigarettes, I’m sure the executives of these food corporation giants left their meeting and bought a sturdy pair of spiked mountain climbing boots to help them maneuver the slippery slopes ahead.