You are what you eat.

It’s one of those phrases we’ve all heard said a million times, and yet how often do we really think about what that actually means, especially when reaching for a bag of potato chips or that Ben & Jerry’s hidden deep in your freezer?

On a practical, day-to-day level, it can be hard to process the stark reality that the food we’re consuming is directly related to our health and how we feel.

Because in the moment, our stomachs typically override our brain.

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And that’s exactly what the food industry is banking on.

Because it’s not actually our stomach that’s doing the thinking.

It’s the part of our brain that craves the dopamine hit those chips or ice cream provide.

But what if I told you that there are even more shocking secrets that the food industry is keeping from us? Secrets that not only make us spend more money, but that have directly created a worldwide epidemic of obesity, insulin resistance, and disease.

Frankly it’s a topic they DON’T want us to be talking about, but on this blog we’re not afraid to tackle hard truths.

And that’s why, we’re taking a deep dive into the dirtiest secrets the food industry doesn’t want you to know, so you can avoid falling into their trap.

And if you’re new to me and this blog, I am also a 40-something year old woman who knows exactly what it’s like to STRUGGLE with losing weight and getting healthy.

It’s a battle I fought for SO many years, constantly trying everything I knew how to do to lose weight and get healthy, one diet after another, sometimes losing a few pounds than always gaining it right back.

And if you’re reading this blog because you’re in the midst of that struggle, then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. How not feeling good about your body and the way that you look and feel starts to impact your confidence and everything else in your life.

And on top of that, you just don’t FEEL good. You’re tired all the time. You feel bloated and gassy. You struggle with heartburn and indigestion, or sometimes even chronic pain and headaches and inflammation.

Believe me, I GET it.

And for me, it wasn’t until I decided to take a totally different approach that things FINALLY turned around. The biggest thing was that I finally stopped looking for a quick fix, another crash diet, and instead decided to do some real research into the science of weight loss, and into why we gain weight in the first place.

And honestly, what I discovered SHOCKED me because it is SO different than everything we’ve ever been told about what’s healthy and not healthy, and what makes us lose weight and what makes us gain. Our whole lives we’ve been told to eat less and exercise more, and that weight loss is just calories in and calories out, but that’s not true. Not even a little bit. Especially for women, and ESPECIALLY for women over 40.

Because as it turns out, the thing that regulates our weight ISN’T calories, it’s hormones. 

And so, as I started to change the way I eat in a way that restored balance to my hormones and reversed insulin resistance and healed my gut, the weight just started to come off.

Without dieting. Without drugs. And without making myself miserable.

I lost 40 pounds in six months, and for the first time EVER I didn’t just gain it all right back. I’ve easily maintained that weight loss for years now.

And let me tell you friends, after struggling with this for SO LONG, it felt—and still does feel—like FREEDOM.

It’s why I’m SO freaking passionate about this work. It’s why I started Thinlicious. Because I can’t help but want to share it, and to help other women find that same freedom.

But it has also unlocked a passion inside of me to really get to the TRUTH of what’s actually going on, and exactly WHY so many of us are struggling with this EXACT SAME THING.

And honestly it’s a little bit like going down the rabbit hole, you know? You just start to go deeper and deeper and you start seeing all these connections and you start to realize that it’s not just YOUR experience. 

There’s actually something much bigger going on.

And one of the BIGGEST things is that we are all victims of a food industry that is literally out to get us.

Because the more I’ve learned about the food industry and how it works, and about how a lot of the “conventional wisdom” we’ve been fed for years and years is actually just a bunch of industry propaganda that’s been carefully crafted to get us to buy and eat more of their unhealthy food products, the more ANGRY I get.

It feels like such a big deception, and one that has had such a huge impact on the health of so many millions of people.

And I don’t know about you, but there’s something about being LIED to and MANIPULATED by some big food corporation that just gets me fired up. It feels personal.

I mean, if I’m going to screw up my health by eating too much and making poor food choices, then I want it to be my choice, right? I don’t want to be manipulated into it.

And that’s why I thought it would be helpful to devote an entire blog post to this topic, to just lay it all out there, and to really help you see what’s going on.

Because like I always say, knowledge is power. Understanding what you’re up against and the forces that are at play is the first step to being able to make better choices for your health.

And so today, I want to talk specifically about the food industry, and all the ways they are trying to manipulate you into buying and eating their products, and some of the sneaky tactics they use to get us to consume more and more and more.

And then at the end, we’ll talk a little bit about what you can DO about it—how you can start making better choices for your health, and what changes you can start to make in your own life that will have a big impact on your weight and how you feel.

But first, let’s dive into the nitty gritty, and talk about the food industry.

The Big Food Machine

We live in an age of convenience, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the food we eat. From drive-thru restaurants to microwave dinners to the dozens of aisles at the grocery store filled with pre-packaged, processed food products, it sometimes feels like we can’t escape the reach of the food industry.

And make no mistake—the food industry is BIG business. In fact, in the United States alone, the food industry is a $1.46 trillion dollar business. That’s TRILLION, with a “T.”

Big Food controls what gets grown and what gets harvested and what gets processed and what gets packaged and what gets distributed and what gets sold in every single grocery store and market in the world. It controls what you eat, and it’s probably controlling what you THINK about what you eat as well.

And it’s important to understand that when I talk about “Big Food,” I’m not talking about thousands of different companies that are just trying to make a living like all of us are. I’m talking about TEN. There are 10 massive food conglomerates that control more than 90% of the food that you see in the grocery store.

Most of them you’ve probably heard of, but these big 10 are Nestlé, Pepsico, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Associated British Foods, and Mondelez. 

That’s it.

So just right there, you have to think about the POWER that comes from controlling basically ALL of the world’s food.

And what’s the saying? Absolute power corrupts absolutely?

Because ultimately, what is every company’s goal? To make more money and higher profits, right? So right away you have to realize that the interests of the food companies are not in line with YOUR interests.

They want you to BUY as much as possible, which means they want you to EAT as much as possible, which means it is in their best interest to make their food as ADDICTIVE as possible. And believe me, they’re working HARD at making their food as addictive as possible, with whole teams of scientists dedicated to ensuring that you truly can’t eat just one.

On top of that, they want to be able to produce their food as CHEAPLY as possible, which means using ingredients that can be mass produced as cheaply as possible, which usually means things like ultra-processed chemicals and high-fructose corn syrup. The closer it is to nature, the more expensive it is, right? But the more fillers and chemicals they can add, the cheaper it is to produce.

And you would THINK that this would be pretty obvious to all of us right? That all this highly processed food and artificial stuff couldn’t possibly be good for our health or for our waistlines. That eating REAL food—real fruits and vegetables and meat and dairy—is always going to be so much better for us than eating all that junk.

Well, I think at first it was.

And that’s why the food industry had to get really creative, and they had to start controlling the narrative. Basically they started lying to us. They started manipulating us. And then they got really, really good at it.

Sneaky Tactics of the Food Industry

There are some really sneaky tactics being employed to manipulate us into buying and eating their products, and to get us to consume more and more and more. These tactics are often insidious, and we don’t even realize they’re happening.

And because I think it’s so important for all of us to be totally awake with eyes wide open and aware of what’s happening, here are a few of the most common ways the food industry is trying to manipulate you.

Using addictive ingredients

Let’s start with the most obvious, because I think this one is the most terrifying. And that is the fact that the food industry intentionally adds addictive ingredients to their products to keep us coming back for more.

Yes, you heard that right.

They are LITERALLY ADDING DRUGS TO OUR FOOD to ensure that we get hooked.

And the most common of these drugs is sugar.

Sugar is a highly addictive substance, and it has been shown to have a similar effect on the brain as drugs like cocaine. When we eat something that is high in sugar, it triggers the release of dopamine, which is the feel-good hormone. And that dopamine release creates a powerful reward system in the brain that makes you want to keep eating more and more of that food.

And the food industry knows this. They’ve known it for a long time. In fact, a lot of the research that has been done on the addictive properties of sugar has been funded by the food industry, because they’ve been trying to figure out how to exploit this knowledge to their advantage.

Because if they can get you hooked on their products, then you’ll keep coming back for more.

But they don’t stop there. In addition to sugar, they also add other ingredients that are known to be addictive, like monosodium glutamate (or MSG), and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. And a lot of these ingredients are hidden in plain sight, under names that you might not even recognize.

And it’s not just the processed food products that you probably think of as being unhealthy—like cookies, and cakes, and candy bars. It’s also in all the other things you might not expect, like salad dressings, and ketchup, and mayonnaise, and bread.

On top of that, the food industry basically has a SECRET WEAPON that they use to get us hooked on their products, and that secret weapon is something called the “bliss point.”

But what exactly IS the bliss point? Well, it’s the perfect combination of sugar, fat, salt and other flavors that make a food taste SO good that we literally can’t resist it.

And the food industry knows this.

In fact, they’ve been studying the bliss point for years, and they spend BILLIONS of dollars every year to figure out how to make their products as addictive as possible. They hire food scientists and flavorists to create just the right combination of flavors and textures that will keep us coming back for more.

They even use something called “mouthfeel technology” to figure out how to make a food feel just right in our mouth, so that we get that perfect sensation of crunch or creaminess or whatever it might be, that will make us want to keep eating.

It’s crazy, you guys. And it’s SO sneaky.

So the first thing you need to be aware of is that the food industry is intentionally making their crap food as addictive as possible to keep us hooked. And the best way to avoid falling into this trap is to get in the habit of reading labels, so that you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

Using deceptive labeling

And speaking of labels, that brings me to the next sneaky way the food industry tries to manipulate us—through deceptive labeling.

Basically they want us to believe is that PROCESSED FOODS are HEALTHY. That all of these low-fat and fat-free products they’ve been selling us for years are good for us. That it’s better to eat a processed food full of chemicals and preservatives and artificial ingredients, than it is to eat a whole, natural food that might actually contain some fat.

And honestly, this is a secret that is SO insidious, because it’s done in a very clever way. But it’s everywhere. It’s in the packaging and labeling of products. It’s in all the buzzwords and the claims that a product is “heart healthy.” It’s in the way that certain products are displayed in grocery stores so that they look like they’re the healthier option. It’s in the way that food manufacturers use marketing and psychology to make us believe that their products are good for us, even when they’re not.

Frankly, food labels can be really confusing, and sometimes it feels like you need a PhD in nutrition just to be able to make sense of it all. And that’s no accident. The food industry is deliberately trying to make it as difficult as possible for you to understand what you’re actually buying and eating.

One of the biggest ways they do this is by using really small print and hard-to-read fonts, so that you’ll just give up and not bother trying to read it.

Another way they try to fool us is by using words and phrases that sound healthy, but really aren’t. For example, a product might be labeled as “natural” or “heart healthy” or “low fat” or “whole grain,” and this can make us think that it’s a healthy choice, even when it’s really not.

And sometimes they’ll even use other sneaky tricks, like listing the ingredients in a different order than they would appear in the actual recipe, so that it seems like there is less sugar or less of another unhealthy ingredient than there actually is.

And we fall for it, over and over again, because we’re busy and we’re tired and we’re overwhelmed and we want to believe that there is an easier way. We want to believe that we can just keep eating the same foods we’ve always eaten, because they’re healthy, right? They’re good for us.

But the truth is, almost all of the food in the grocery store—especially the food in the middle aisles of the grocery store—is highly processed and full of chemicals and preservatives and artificial ingredients. And almost all of it is bad for us. And the food industry knows it. But they don’t care. Because like I said, processed foods are CHEAP to produce. They’re easy to make. They’re easy to package. They have a long shelf life. And they’re easy to sell. And they’re SUPER profitable.

And the result is that we end up buying and eating products that we think are healthy, when they’re really not. And this can be really frustrating, because then we blame ourselves for not being able to lose weight when we’re eating all these “healthy” foods. But it’s not your fault. The food industry is intentionally trying to deceive us.

So what can you do about it?

Well, the best thing you can do is to always take a minute to actually read the label. Don’t just look at the front of the package, look at the actual ingredients and the nutrition information. And don’t be fooled by the big, bold claims on the front of the package. The real information is usually hidden in the small print.

You can also try to avoid buying products with labels altogether. The best foods for your health are usually the ones that don’t have a label—like fresh fruits and vegetables, and meat and fish from the butcher counter. When you do buy packaged products, try to stick to the perimeter of the store, where the fresh foods are kept.

Controlling portion sizes

The next sneaky tactic the food industry uses to try to get us to eat more is by controlling portion sizes.

Have you ever noticed that the portion sizes at fast food restaurants and in microwave dinners just keep getting bigger and bigger? And it’s not just our imagination. Studies have shown that when we’re given a larger portion, we tend to eat more, even if we don’t feel hungry.

And the food industry knows this. Ironically, they know that if they can get us to eat larger portions, then we’ll buy more of their products. And so they deliberately make the portions bigger.

But there’s something else that’s happening too. As the portions have gotten larger, our perception of what a “normal” portion size is has also changed. So now, when we’re served the “appropriate” portion size at a restaurant or a dinner party, it seems really small to us, and we think we’re not getting enough food.

And this has led to a phenomenon known as portion distortion, where we end up eating more and more, because our perception of what a normal portion size is has changed.

So how do you avoid falling into this trap?

Well, one thing you can do is to start paying attention to portion sizes. There are plenty of resources online that can help you understand what a healthy portion size actually looks like. And sometimes just being aware of this can make a big difference.

You can also try using smaller plates and bowls, so that your portions appear larger. And always remember that you can go back for seconds if you’re still hungry, but it’s better to start with a smaller portion and then take more if you need it.

And finally, try to avoid buying products that are packaged in single-serving sizes. It’s easy to think that these are a healthier option, but the truth is that when we’re given a single-serving size, we usually end up eating the whole thing, even if it’s more food than we actually need.

Manipulating the science

But perhaps the most insidious way the food industry tries to manipulate us is by manipulating the science.

You see, they’ve got a lot of money, and that money can buy a lot of influence. They fund studies, they pay for research, and they even have scientists on their payroll, all in an effort to promote their products and make them seem healthier than they actually are.

The most well-known example of this was back in the 1960’s when the sugar funded a famous study that downplayed the dangers of sugar while blaming coronary heart disease on FAT. 

This kicked off a huge backlash against saturated fat, and surprise surprise, this created an instant demand for highly processed vegetable and seed oils—things like Crisco, vegetable oil, and margarine.

And then this fake study—directly funded and orchestrated by the food industry—became the big thing, and the American Heart Association—also largely influenced by special interest lobbyists who are funded by—you guessed it—the food industry became the gold standard for what to eat and what not to eat.

Butter and lard were bad.

Carbohydrates and vegetable oils were good.

The messaging was EVERYWHERE. It’s what began to be taught in medical schools, and still is to this day.

And it FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED the way we ate. And if you go back and look at the recommended dietary guidelines from the 1970s—which were developed by a committee that was heavily influenced by the food industry—you’ll see that this is exactly what happened. This is when we started to see a massive increase in the consumption of processed carbohydrates—sugar, white flour, and other highly refined grain products. It’s when we started to see the introduction of low-fat and fat-free products in the grocery store.

And it’s also RIGHT when we started to see a massive increase in the rates of obesity and heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The reality is that a lot of the “conventional wisdom” we’ve been fed for years and years about what is and isn’t healthy has been carefully crafted by the food industry to get us to buy and eat more of their products.

And this can all be really confusing, because if you’re trying to make healthier choices, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the conflicting information.

So what can you do to protect yourself from this kind of manipulation?

Well, the first thing you can do is to be aware that it’s happening. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt, and try to do your own research. And when you read an article or a study, take a minute to think about who might be funding it and what their agenda might be.

You can also try to avoid products that are heavily promoted by the food industry, like margarine and vegetable oils. And instead, opt for healthier more natural alternatives, like butter and olive oil.

Rule of thumb—the more processed a food is, the worse it probably is for you.

And the closer it is to the way God made it, then the better you can feel.

Of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues with meat, dairy, and produce as well.

Messing with our whole foods

Because sadly, it’s not just processed foods where the food industry plays its tricks.

Even the whole foods we think are healthy aren’t always as natural as we believe. Take, for example, fruits and vegetables. Thanks to genetic modification, pesticides, and fertilizers, the apples and tomatoes we buy today are vastly different from what our grandparents used to eat.

These “enhancements” are often marketed as ways to improve crop yields and protect against pests, but they can also reduce the nutritional value of our food and introduce potential health risks.

Meat and dairy products aren’t immune to manipulation either. Animals are often raised in cramped, unhealthy conditions and are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones to promote faster growth and higher milk production. These substances can make their way into our systems, potentially causing antibiotic resistance or hormonal imbalances.

So how do you navigate this minefield? Well, becoming an informed consumer is crucial.

Your best bet is to look for organic and local options where possible, which are less likely to contain harmful chemicals or be genetically modified. Local farmers’ markets can also be a great resource, as they often sell produce that is fresh and minimally treated.

Being mindful of where your food comes from and how it’s produced can go a long way in making healthier choices. It’s all about taking small, manageable steps towards a diet that nourishes your body and mind, rather than falling into the traps set by a profit-driven food industry.

How to make better food choices

So what can you actually DO to protect yourself from the food industry’s sneaky tactics? How can you start making better food choices for you and your family? What changes can you actually start to make in your own life that will have a big impact on your health?

Well, the good news is that there are a lot of simple changes you can make that will make a big difference. And these changes don’t have to be overwhelming or difficult. In fact, they’re probably a lot easier than you think.

Avoid processed foods

The first and probably most obvious change you can make is to start avoiding processed foods as much as possible. This is the number one thing that I recommend to anyone who is serious about getting healthy and losing weight, because it really is a game-changer.

Processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state, usually to make them last longer or be more convenient to eat. This includes things like frozen dinners, microwave meals, and pre-packaged snacks, as well as things like soda and candy.

But it also includes a lot of other things that you might not realize, like bread, pasta, and cereal. And it even includes a lot of foods that are marketed as “healthy,” like granola bars, fruit snacks, and yogurt with fruit on the bottom.

And the reason you want to avoid these foods is because they are typically high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and other additives. They’re also usually low in nutrients, which means that they don’t provide a lot of the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly.

So what can you eat instead?

Well, the best thing you can do is to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods. This means foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats like olive oil and coconut oil.

But that’s really the first step—skip the processed crap.

Buy local as much as possible

Another tip is to buy local whenever you can. Shopping at your local farmers’ market or joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program can help you get fresher, more nutritious food.

Not only does this support your local economy, but it also reduces the environmental impact of transporting food over long distances.

Plus, local produce is usually picked at its peak, which means it tastes better and retains more nutrients. When you buy local, you also have the opportunity to ask the growers directly about their farming practices—whether they use pesticides, how they feed their animals, and other important factors that affect the quality of your food.

If good local farm options aren’t available to you, you can also order from small “local” farmers online. One of my favorites is some friends of mine—the 7 sons farm—is a great source for high quality meat.

But getting as much food as you can from small, local growers versus the huge food conglomerates is another great step in the right direction.

Cook at home more often

Thirdly, you can try to cook at home more often.

Cooking at home gives you complete control over what goes into your food. You can choose fresh, whole ingredients and avoid the unnecessary sugars, fats, and preservatives often found in restaurant and takeout meals. If you’re not confident in your cooking skills, start simple. There are plenty of easy, healthy recipes out there to get you started, and with practice, you’ll become more comfortable and creative in the kitchen.

Ultimately, making better food choices is all about taking small, manageable steps. It’s not about being perfect or making drastic changes overnight. It’s about finding what works for you and taking it one meal at a time.

Remember, every small change can add up to big results over time. So, start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can. Cutting out SOME of the crap is going to be so much better than none at all, and you probably won’t be able to be perfect, because in this day and age it’s just not possible.

So that’s the third step—cook at home more often.

Get Support from Like Minded People

But the final step is to surround yourself with a community that actually gets it, and sees the problem like you do, and is actively working to make positive changes in their own life.

Frankly there’s something so powerful about this, and honestly I think that’s one of the biggest reasons our TAS program has such a high success rate—because it’s such a powerful combination of education and super practical tools, but then the support of an amazing community.

There’s nothing like that.

And by the way, if you want more info about our TAS program and how you can get started, be sure to check out my free training—Happy, Healthy & Free, which you can find HERE.

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