Diet Doctor Podcast #73 — Processed-food addiction

Is highly processed food addictive and does it override our ability to choose whether or not we eat it? The word “addiction” is a charged word that means different things to different people.

In this interview with author and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Michael Moss, we discuss his extensive research into the processed food industry and how its products may or may not be addictive. We’ll explore how that impacts individual eaters and society as a whole.

As Michael explains in his book, Hooked, the processed food industry hijacks our biological quest for survival and uses our biology to maximize its profits. What does that mean for its culpability in our obesity epidemic? And how can we fight these sophisticated marketing giants — both from a societal and an individual perspective — to improve our health?

Drawing from lessons learned from the tobacco industry, Michael weaves a narrative to give us the knowledge we need to understand why we may feel out of control with processed foods.

He points out that food is intrinsically different from tobacco — we have to eat, but we don’t have to smoke. While that makes a solution more complicated, it also increases our opportunities for intervention.

Thanks for reading,
Bret Scher, MD FACC

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Table of contents


00:00  Introduction
02:30  Michael’s motivation for writing his books
07:34  Why the term “addiction” is prevalent in the books
11:05  A message for people with a processed food addiction
17:48  How the food industry takes advantage of emotional over eating
24:37  How the definition of addiction affects our society
30:25  What we can do from a societal level
39:16  Does nutrition-labelling make a difference?
42:38  Future hopes in improving our health
50:20  Where to find Michael Moss

About the video

Virtual podcast recorded in April 2021, published in May 2021.
Host: Dr. Bret Scher
Producer: Hari Dewang

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