Before I go any further on this subject of obesity, I want to dispel the hype that the ignorant medical world is splashing on almost every publication that being overweight constitutes a health hazard causing strokes, diabetes 2, heart disease, heart attack, atherosclerosis, cancer etc. I omitted hypertension because logically speaking carrying extra weight is going to require the heart to work harder to pump the blood around the extra physiological real estate, especially if the arteries are not clear.  Obese people like individuals of normal weight, if they are nutrient deficient, they are all at risk if the body is negatively expressing an abnormal condition. It’s not the additional weight generally that is the cause, its the essential nutrients that the body needs to run its processes that are missing. Dr Gaesser’s wonderful book ‘Big fat lies’ makes this abundantly clear citing many studies that refutes weight to be the major perpetrator of these chronic diseases. One study that he himself orchestrated, as he explains, he examined 12,000 men who I assume were overweight or obese and according to medical dogma were at high risk of heart disease.  Tracking these individuals over a period of 7 years, measuring body weights and mortality statistics, weight loss did not lower their supposed risk, rather, men who lost weight actually heightened their risk. As Dr Gaesser points out that having tracked thousands of men and women from the Institute for aerobics research over the last 30 years it is fitness of the individual that counts not weight per se. Remember what I said in Part II  “OBESE PEOPLE ARE SICK AND UNHEALTHY, HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY TALK ABOUT EXERCISE UNTIL THE PERSON BECOMES HEALTHY AGAIN…SO HEALTH FIRST THEN EXERCISE”.  Dr Gaesser also states that there is an ever growing body of evidence that shows:

‘Fat may not be so bad, and thin may not be so good’

….and his book was written in 2002, and this statement is based on the reason given above…nutrient deficiency, because obesity is a symptom, not a disease..   So if you find yourself one day researching obesity and you begin reading articles that state that obesity causes a plethora of chronic conditions or that its simply calories in vs calories out and that obesity is caused by overeating and under exercising, go and read an article that makes more scientific sense…like mine for instance…lol.  

Reward and Hedonic areas

My apologies for the busy diagram, but it shows the whole story from regulating food intake to the consummation of food that releases the various stimulative signals that flood the brain as pleasure and reward.  Dopamine is released from the dopamine centre, the Ventral Tegmental Area ( VTA) and distributed to the reward centres referred to as the hedonic hotspots located in the Parabrachial nucleus, the amygdala, the Ventral Pallidum and the Nucleus Accumbens. You will notice various green pathways that transmit Glutamine, a stimulatory neurotransmitter, which is why a form of it is MSG or monosodium Glutamate, and used as a gustatory enhancer; although MSG is also a neurotoxin and should be avoided, but Glutamine arouses the pleasure centres of the brain.  However, like the energy balance control centre situated in the hypothalamus, that supports feeding stimulus, and its antagonistic control satiety, glutamate has an off switch as well, called GABA shown as a red pathway. To heighten the pleasure, Dopamine travels to the frontal cortex and cortex of the brain alongside serotonin shown in the diagram as blue pathways.  Studies conducted by Thompson and Swanson in 2010 and Zahm et al in 2012 describe these pleasure circuits as mesocorticolimbic circuits differentiating them into ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’.  As Dr Robert Lustig in his great book ‘The hacking of the American Mind’ eloquently differentiates reward and pleasure :

“ The goal of reward is not in the motivation; its in the consummation. Pleasure is the goal. Desire is the driver.  Motivation drives the outward behaviour; consummation is the inward expression of reward.”


It is the Nucleus Accumbens and the Ventral tegmental area (VTA) that are the primary targets for addictive substances like pharmacological drugs and Bioengineered food.  These substances interfere with the influencing neuromodulatory mechanism of Dopamine, by prolonging the action of dopamine within the nucleus accumbens and the VTA, rather like the SSRI drug that inhibits the serotonin transport to clear out the synapse of serotonin and prolonging its effect, because of some misguided science that depression is caused by insufficient serotonin.

The extraordinary meeting of 1999

Some of you may know that in 1999 a very special gathering took place at Pillsbury’s HQ in Minneapolis between the 11 major processing food companies, who employ 700,000 employees and enjoy $280 billion in annual sales. Let’s fast forward this to 2017 where the processed food industry grosses $1.46 Trillion with gross profits in the order of $657 billion. That means the annual turnover has escalated almost 5 times today compared to 1999, so a lot more people are eating this stuff.   Why had they all come together, competitors and all ? discuss child obesity. This, in my opinion, was a statement of complicity basically admitting that their poisonous products was driving the obesity crisis. However, were they genuinely concerned about driving a stake through children’s health..well actually no..their major concern was losing market share or referred to as ‘stomach share’. I believe James Behnke, special advisor to the Pillsbury;s CEO, who chaired this extraordinary meeting, became concerned with how harmful these processed foods were becoming, that wielded the power to change societies eating habits due to their delectable taste, overriding any concerns on nutrition. One of only 2 men who spoke that evening was the vice president of Kraft, Michael Mudd, who basically said that more than half of adult Americans were overweight and nearly a ¼ ( 40 million) were obese, and the number of obese kids amounted to more than 12 million. He also alluded to the fact that particular societies like the CDC, Heart Association, Cancer Society and even the Secretary of Agriculture were pointing fingers at the food industry and saying that”

“We cannot pretend food isn’t part of the obesity problem”

and on one of his 114 presentation slides it said:

“Ubiquity of inexpensive good tasting super sized energy dense food”

in answer to a question which was also on the slides

“ What’s driving the obesity  increase ?”,

knowing only too well, the quote from Kelly Brownell Yale University professor “ the processed food industry should be seen as a public health menace”. Finally he pointed out that the same trial lawyers that took the tobacco industry to task, were potentially preparing themselves to go after their food industry, and that, we, as all captains of the food industry should unwind the taste science, so we are not found to be responsible for cravings and overeating.  Mudd closed by saying:

“ We should make a sincere effort to be part of the (obesity) solution”

The other CEO to remark in the meeting was Stephen Sanger head of General Mills saying:

“ Consumers are fickle, so don’t talk to me about nutrition, talk to me about taste, and if this stuff tastes better, don’t run around trying to sell stuff that doesn’t taste good.”

As Behnke said after the meeting what Sanger was saying in effect was:

“We are not going to screw around with the company jewels here and change formulations because a bunch of guys in white coats are worried about obesity”

So there you have it, as is no surprise the great food industry giants that employ 700,000 people and turn over $ 280 billion in1999 couldn’t give a ‘rats ass’ if their poisonous food made everybody obese, or killed anybody, just so their bottom line was safe as they walk over a fat planet.

Food addiction

A part of the 700,000 people who work in the processed food industry, there is a small army of chemists, physicists and neuroscientists, striving for you to come back and eat more of their bioengineered products, ensuring that the food contains a high sensory specific satiety, so as the pleasurable effects lasts longer. This concept of ‘sensory specific satiety’ came from Howard Moskowitz, a taste expert that has been repeatedly hired by some of the food giants to rescue their  products that were not selling well ( e.g Dr Pepper in 2004), and was hired by the US army to enhance the flavor of army rations.  After interviewing some of the troops he found that very flavourful food was only temporarily popular until they became bored with it, as opposed to white bread that was not so appealing, but the troops would eat more and get less bored which was a contradiction in terms.  In Kelly Crowes intriguing article CBC news 2013 she informs us that back in 2002, a food industry  Consultant Thornton Mustard  wrote a book entitled ‘The Taste Signature Revealed’, where he writes that fullness and satiety is an enemy of the food industry.  As my Mother used to say “ they are very moreish” and that is exactly what the food scientists want to achieve in processed food products, so once the taste has died away you want to regain the taste again by putting more into your mouth. Then there is the ‘vanishing caloric density’, where a product dissolves quickly in the mouth like a ‘malteser’ tricking the brain into thinking no calories were consumed, before the brain signals satiety. The obvious ‘vanishing caloric density’ product is soda delivering sugar by the bucket load to unsuspecting consumers who are not aware of the toxic sugar intake.  Then in Michael Moss’s very informative book ‘salt sugar fat: how the food giants hooked us’ talks at great length about the ‘Bliss point’. Perfected by Howard Moskowitz using the main taste ingredients in all man made food salt fat and sugar and having just the right amount of one or all three ingredients that deliver the most tasty level of food…not too much and not too little. This stimulates the reward centres as discussed above releasing endorphins and dopamine neurotransmission.

Where all the science is perfected to cause food addiction across the planet

This is America’s Mordor run by Sauron the dark lord ruler.  It is located in Philadelphia just east of Gondor and it is called Monell Chemical Senses Center, a non profit organisation ( I suppose its ok then ??), that is ‘advancing discovery in taste and smell’.  Outside of their building there is even a large ( 10 feet high) gold statue of a partial face which resembles a little like Sauron accentuating a nose and mouth ( smell & taste).  If it is a non profit establishment, where does its $17.5 million funding come from?…the big soda companies, Kraft, Nestle, Philip Morris, Frito-Lay to name a few which accounts for 50% of the funding, the other half from federal grants. On occasion they have access to children to test their research, mixing various concoctions containing different amounts of the stimulatory salt,fat and sugar ingredients to see what the children like best. How are they able to get these children, unless they are offspring of the army of neuroscientists, physicists, biologists and geneticists that work at Monell. or are they mandated by the government like vaccine schedules. The blatant attitude of this industry is that nobody chooses food based on their nutritional basis but by its taste and sensory satisfaction and the reward their brains feel after consumption, even though longer term it can have deleterious effects.  Of course we relish the taste of sweetness, our physiology is programmed to enjoy this flavor from most of the taste buds located on our tongues, to sweet receptors in the esophagus and GI tract, to our sensory hypothalamic central processing system and VTA/Nucleus accumbens reward centres. In fact science has been aware of sweet taste receptors T1R2 and T1R3 that exist all over the body, and Michael Moss informs us in his book that it was a group at Monell who discovered the Taste 1 Receptor family 3 (T1R3).   Daily bombardment of reward seeking foods can also be harmful. Remember addiction = Tolerance and Dependence. As Dr Lustig puts it “every substance and behavior that drives up your reward triggers, will just as quickly drive down your reward receptors”. In the book ‘salt sugar fat: how the food giants hooked us’ Michael Moss informs us of a scientist at Monell while experimenting children’s like and dislikes in terms of taste she states ironically:

“ It’s not that food companies are teaching children to like sweetness: rather, they are teaching children what foods should taste like…they are manipulating or exploiting the biology of the child..and they’re impacting the health of the child”.


We have seen the complexity of our brains reward and energy balance system and my notion of the products produced by the processed food industry that are powerful insurgents to override and bypass all the physiological regulation.  Indeed this hypothesis has been confirmed by the extraordinary meeting that was held in 1999 with all of the captains of the processed food industry, to discuss the alarming trend of childhood obesity and chronic disease which their products were central.  There are 24 articles written about antipsychotic drugs that are also on the website, some discuss addiction and withdrawal, but now we have to factor in processed food as an addictive substance, made so by the likes of Monell Chemical Senses Center and the scientists that work there.  In the next article we will look at other reasons for being overweight and how this can be overcome, and how obesity can be reversed, but how can we teach over a third of the planet…thats a lot of auditoriums.

“Mr Willy Wonka can make marshmallows that taste of violets, and rich caramels that change colour every ten seconds as you suck them, and little feathery sweets that melt away deliciously the moment you put them between your lips. He can make chewing-gum that never loses its taste, and sugar balloons that you can blow up to enormous sizes before you pop them with a pin and gobble them up. And, by a most secret method, he can make lovely blue birds’ eggs with black spots on them, and when you put one of these in your mouth, it gradually gets smaller and smaller until suddenly there is nothing left except a tiny little DARKRED sugary baby bird sitting on the tip of your tongue.”

Willy Wonka & the chocolate factory

The Brain has been taken prisoner – Obesity Part I: How did we get here

The Brain has been taken prisoner – Obesity Part II: How do we get fat

The Brain has been taken prisoner – Obesity Part III: The body has been taken prisoner

The Brain has been taken prisoner – Obesity Part IV: Homeostatic Energy Balance I

The Brain has been taken prisoner – Obesity Part V: Homeostatic Energy Balance II

References/Acknowledgments :

  1. Food cravings engineered by industry Kelly Crowe CBC News 2013
  2. Salt sugar fat: how the food giants hooked us Michael Moss 2013
  3. Parabrachial nucleus, the amygdala, the Ventral Pallidum and the Nucleus Accumbens, GABA, Glutamine, Bliss point Wikipedia
  4. Big fat lies Dr Glenn Gaesser 2002
  5. The Hacking of the American mind Dr Robert Lustig 2017
  6. Sugars, sweet taste receptors and brain responses Alan Lee & Chung Owyang 2017 NCBI
  7. Willy Wonka & the chocolate factory 1971 quote Goodreads

Author : Eric Malouin


Pin It on Pinterest