As it turns out, overeating may not simply be just a matter of willpower.
Mindless eating has become somewhat of a norm in today's society, and published studies may explain – at least in part – why. Research suggests that individuals who regularly consume fructose-laden "foods" are susceptible to overeating. The consumption of fructose has already been known to directly affect and cause changes in the brain itself that increase one's desire to eat. While the research may be relatively new, the results shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
One of the more common concoctions containing fructose is known as high-fructose corn syrup. Supermarkets are stocked with inexpensive and easily accessible foods loaded with this stuff. HFCS is an extremely cheap caloric additive that adds sweetness to a variety of products on the market. These include soft drinks, fruit juice, salad dressings, ketchup, snack foods and even bread. Look closely at the ingredients on that bag of 12-grain bagels next time you're in the supermarket. What is high-fructose corn syrup doing in a whole grain bagel?
The immediate impact of the widespread availability of fructose-laden products is on consumers. The more convenient a food is the greater the likelihood that it will be excessively consumed. Unhealthy foods create a desire to consume more unhealthy foods, including junk food.
It's imperative to address this concern head on as we, the consumers, now face a reality in which the food we find so appealing directly contributes to how much of it we will consume. With obesity still on the rise in the United States, it appears that many are already stuck in this pattern.
So, what's the solution?
Label reading has never been more important. It is crucial that we begin to understand just exactly what is going into the foods that we ingest. Being aware of which foods contain high-fructose corn syrup and not buying them is the first step towards their removal from our supermarket shelves.
If you aren't sure what an ingredient is, ask questions. Call the company that made the product and inquire. Ask yourself, "If something claims to have the same taste as its calorie-rich counterpart (ahem, diet soft drinks) but none of the calories, how did the manufacturers manage to do that? What are they putting into it?" In all likelihood, if something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.
Evidence of the debilitating factors of ingesting dangerous ingredients is steadily growing. Thinking about our long-term health now will ultimately lead to less damaging implications health wise in the future.
Lastly, I'll leave you with something that I read in a health magazine a long time ago that has always stuck with me: Eat food. Not food products.