The Bliss Point
‘For the food industry, the holy trinity are salt, fat and sugar. But sugar is the best of all because it is a preservative, it tampers with the appetite controls and it is now showing signs of addictive qualities that rival some harder drugs.’ New York Times investigative reporter Michael Moss.
Today was a day that I had looked forward to on the schedule for a long time. I woke up in the BIg Apple (4 teaspoons?) and poured myself some sultana crunch cereal (7) with fat free pear yoghurt (4) and hit the bustling streets. I have definitely adjusted to my new sugar reality. Its not that I am enjoying it, its just something to do with the nature of reality and the miracle that is our body and mind. We just adapt to our circumstance. Sadly for most people they have just ‘adapted’ to hardship or addiction and that is their accepted view of the world. Some spend their whole lives never even knowing that there are other options or choices; “thats just the way it is” they say. I don’t agree.
My new reality at 10am was the austere and slightly intimidating house of written word-smithery that is the New York Times building on 8th Avenue. A temple for verbal gymnastics and pronoun punctuation cage matches. I sat for an hour in a beautifully bright boardroom on the 17th floor and chatted with Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Moss, the pensman of ‘Sugar, Salt, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. I chuckled as I drank a Peach flavoured ‘Snapple’ (8 teaspoons) during our meeting. What a great man. Articulate, passionate, considered and balanced. He took me though a mind boggling array of fastidious scientific research that the food companies take part in. Nestle alone employ 700 scientists to develop and enhance new products. There was talk of ‘high caloric satiate points’ and my personal favourite, and the one I came to hear about, was the ‘bliss point’ for sugar. This is the perfect amount of sugar in a food that isn’t too sweet but is just enough that we will be wanting to come back for more. The bliss point has now found its way into drinks and foods all over the world and is a key part of companies getting us hooked on their goodies (stay tuned for more info as it comes to hand).
PS I got another dad joke in at the end of the interview by asking Michael if he was referred to as Michael Moss-quito by the food companies due to his buzzing around and annoying them. There was silence.
I left the building (reluctantly) and sat in a cafe next door to eat a pork sandwhich with a sweet apple sauce (6 teaspoons) and a really foul tasting ‘Youthy’ drink that had nothing blissful about it (8). My mind was racing from the terrible juice but also at some of the sound waves that had entered my ears during the Moss conversation.
I then went home for a rest and was taken to a special place for dinner by some friends. It is called ‘The Sugar Factory’ and serves a metabolic syndrome amount of sugary options. I have attached a photo of a drink I ordered to just stare at and try. I had about 4 sips and have no doubt had 8 teaspoons. This thing had lolly pops in it plus jelly babies and somehow it was steaming. It was actually a little sad in there and encapsulated all that is excess in the USA. People were finishing their drinks easily and the waitress told us of how packed the place is for kids on the weekends. Our drinks came with mini hot dogs and macaroni and cheese balls.
Today has raised a major question for me though and one that I plan on looking into a little further. After meeting Larry with his R rated Mountain Dew teeth and the beautiful aboriginals of the Northern Territory on dialysis. How culpable are these food companies if they are deliberately ‘engineering’ our foods to get us hooked? Little Larry told me that he would keep drinking Mountain Dew despite his train wreck of a mouth. This speaks of a major addiction and one that delights PepsiCo because it means the money keeps rolling in. And after fittingly being so close to Wall St today, isn’t that what its all about?
40 down and 40. 40/40. Fortyforty.
The Lollypop passion Goblet or the Steaming Diabetes Mojito as I like to call it