Once upon a time there was a greek philosopher who, by persistently asking his leaders questions, was nicknamed the "Gnat of Athens". He did not consider it a perjorative. By his example, all of us should from time to time challenge our core beliefs - asking ourselves what moves us to do what we do. If our fundamental principles include "do no harm" and "protect the weak", are our institutions and our own behavior proof to what we believe?
Fat is the magic ingredient, along with salt and sugar, that set us up for return visits. Chances are that these needed ingredients to our diet used to be hard to come by. Yes, I said needed. Their relative abundance these days perhaps have led to their disfavor.
What is it that fat does for us? It takes the longest to metabolize. It takes your body up to 72 hours to process ingested fat. This gives us a long-burning steady source of fuel, useful for optimum brain power.
Fat is also super-concentrated.
There are 119 calories in a single tablespoon of olive oil. You would have to eat over three cups of air-popped popcorn to get the same calorie load. We solve this imbalance by loading our movie popcorn with fat. And salt. Yum.
In addition, our body is slow to signal satiation from this high-powered food source.
Like I said in the beginning, this premium ingredient used to be hard to come by. You will notice the freaky face I prefaced this article with. Note how much of our brain space is dedicated to the mouth and the tongue. We are hard wired to remember great food experiences, and I bet we are also wired to repeat the great experience as often as we can!
Fat isn't talked about much in Canada's Food Guide. It doesn't rate it's own category, not like Vegetables and Fruit, Grain, and Meat. There's advice to choose lower-fat dairy and lean meats. That's because it is screamingly easy these days to get enough fat. You don't exactly have to go looking for it. It's blazing it's smiling face from every fast-food ad.
Here's a test. Order a side of fries and throw out half. Finish the remainder and see if you are satisfied. I bet your habitual center will be screaming that you were cheated! Is this demand for a full order a needed supply of fat, or habitual?
Who benefits most from this habitual ordering? I'm betting the food marketers are aware of this drive of ours very well.