Junk Food Production: You Put the Crack in the Coconut, Shake It All Up

It will surprise no one that a new study reveals junk food is as addictive to laboratory rats as heroin or coke. What is interesting, however, is the analogy that the manufacture of junk food is similar to the refinement of cocaine into crack.

“We make our food very similar to cocaine now,” [the chair of the medical department at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, M.D.] says.

Coca leaves have been used since ancient times, he points out, but people learned to purify or alter cocaine to deliver it more efficiently to their brains (by injecting or smoking it, for instance). This made the drug more addictive.

According to Wang, food has evolved in a similar way. “We purify our food,” he says. “Our ancestors ate whole grains, but we’re eating white bread. American Indians ate corn; we eat corn syrup.”


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