A bag of potato chips is considered as a solution to fight boredom, ease stress, satisfy cravings, for a quick burst of energy, and also to calm jittery nerves by a lot of people, but it maybe the biggest reason behind weight gain and obesity, particularly since it is a calorie-dense food and it’s hard to stop at just one bag. We tend to feel guilty after indulging in such kind of hyperpalatable food and blame ourselves for not having enough will power to say “no” to them. Food industry spends millions of rupees on research and to bring out engineered food products that will make you addicted to them so that you reach out for their products again and again, making you hard to stop even though you know that they are not good for weight loss or for overall health. Do you know what factor throws water over your will power when it comes to such food and keep your cravings intact even if you are full – it’s called the “bliss point,” on which the food industry spends insane amount of money to bring out engineered products that keep you in a cycle of cravings, overeating, and weight gain. Read on to find out more about bliss point and why we can’t stop eating certain foods.
What is Bliss Point?
Do you know that our tastebuds can actually hamper our weight loss goals making it difficult to adjust to healthy food when we indulge regularly in sugary, salty, high-fat, and processed food. To such a palate, healthy food may seem absolutely bland and without any taste. People who lose the battle to tastebuds, tend to overeat and have intense cravings for unhealthy food – for them, losing weight is an uphill task. We have to admit it, we keep craving for unhealthy food (which is usually high in calories and provide little to zero nourishment to the body) because we have dulled out our tastebuds with overuse of high fat, salt and sugar-rich food. Various studies have revealed that processed food that is high in sodium and sugar can work like drugs (similar to opium) and get you addicted to them.
When we eat food with a particular flavour, our tastebuds get used to it, and we can reach satiety quickly upon consumption of such food; however, when we indulge in a new flavour, we hit the reward center of the brain, and there’s a chance to overeat. During the evolutionary process, foods high in salt, sugar, and fat was hard to come by, and whenever such food was available, consumption was encouraged by release of feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, so that you would seek out this kind of food more. But in the present time, food rich in sugar, salt and fat is not only easily available, they are inexpensive too! And when all three flavours are added in the right proportion, they hit the tastebuds together, and set off the release of dopamine in a great measure. So, our tastebuds and palate can be easily manipulated to crave for a particular food by combining salt, fat, and sugar in the right proportion. When such a clever combination is achieved, we crave for such food because we experience pleasure eating such food. In fact, a study done on rats showed that when they were fed food with all three ingredients (fat, sugar, salt) in a manipulative proportion, their pleasure receptors overpowered the body’s natural mechanism of satiety. So, a bliss point is achieved when the right combination of fat, salt, sugar have been mixed to excite the tastebuds and to suppress the body’s satiety signals.
Bliss point can easily mow down will power and create a food addiction, and some cravings can be hard to resist. As we have mentioned earlier, food companies spend lots of money on finding a particular food’s bliss point by altering and tweaking its salt, sugar, and fat ratio. Howard Moskowitz, American market researcher, defined bliss point as “where the eater feels that there is not too little or too much, but the “just right” amount of saltiness, sweetness, or richness.” Food engineers manipulate and alter the food until they find its bliss point to appeal to the consumer’s tastebuds.
How Bliss Point Makes a Particular Food Addictive?
A food with bliss point triggers reward center in the brain in a major way encouraging release of neurotransmitter dopamine which creates feelings of pleasure, bliss, euphoria, and a sense of well being. Narcotic drugs such as cocaine too cause release of dopamine from the brain in a similar way. With respect to food, to achieve this sense of pleasure, we keep craving for more and more of that particular thing, leading to an addiction of sorts, creating a cycle of overeating and weight gain. You can eat such food all day long and still not feel satisfied or full. As time passes, your tastebuds and body become accustomed sensitive to these foods, so you have to eat more of it to get the same dopamine rush as before.
Foods That Hit the Bliss Point:
4. Processed food.
6. Baked goods.
7. Dips and sauces.
How To Override Bliss Point Factor?
1. Cut Down on Processed and Ultra-Processed Food: We are more concerned about ultra-processed foods which have loads of empty calories, have high sugar, sodium, and fat content with artificial flavours and texture. Processed and ultra-processed food usually are greatly altered from their original form and can cause cravings, and it’s best to cut them down completely. Read “10 Ultra-Processed Foods you Should Avoid Buying To Lose Weight.”
2. Eat Nutrient-Dense Food: Nutrient-dense foods have high nutrient ratio relative to their calories. By including nutrient-dense foods in weight loss diet or even otherwise, we can increase the amount of nutrition, without increasing number of calories. Nutrient-dense foods would include complex carbs, healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins, fiber, etc. Most of them would come from fruits, vegetables, saturated fat, dairy products, whole grains. Nutrient-dense foods also help curb cravings and keep appetite in check. You can learn to include nutrient-dense foods in your diet and lose weight by doing so by getting on the Rati Beauty diet. Download the Rati Beauty app for more details.
3. Reprogram your Tastebuds To Like Healthy Food: It’s a fact that a lot of people out there start on a diet program with all serious intention to lose weight and get healthy in general, but find it difficult to adjust to healthy food because they find such kind of food bland since their taste buds have got used to sugary, salty, and highly processed food. To such a palate, healthy food may seem absolutely without any taste. We have to admit it, we keep craving for unhealthy food (which is usually high in calories and provide little to zero nourishment to the body) because we have dulled them with overuse of high sodium and sugar-rich food. but the good news is that you can actually re-program your palate to like and actually enjoy healthy food and this re-training will help you lose weight. Read about “23 Amazing Tricks To Reprogram your Tastebuds” to shake off cravings for unhealthy food.
4. Sleep For 7 Hours or More: Sleep deprivation has a strong role in appetite control and when you get a good night’s sleep, hunger hormone ghrelin and cortisol fall back to their normal levels, and there are lesser chances of craving for foods that hit your bliss point.
5. Eat Mindfully: Mindful eating helps you feel satiated with less amount of food. Read about “9 Mindful Eating Hacks to Eat Right and Lose Weight” in this post.
6. Switch to Home-Cooked Food Completely: We all know that most restaurants cook their food in unsaturated unhealthy oil, transfat, loads of sugar and sodium, causing cravings for such high-calorie food. Cut down the frequency of eating food from outside, and instead meal prep for the entire week if you lead a busy life, and do not find time to cook fresh meals every single time.
With these tips, it’s possible to stay off unhealthy food and clear the path to weigh tloss.
10 Ultra-Processed Foods you Should Avoid Buying To Lose Weight
How To Fall in Love with Healthy Food for Weight Loss