What makes manufactured fast food hyperpalatable?
Fast food is extra tasty because it relies upon a manufactured synergy among its artificially combined components -- fat, sodium, sugar and carbohydrates -- which just doesn't occur in nature. And the fat, sugar and carbs mean fast foods are high calorie. Fast foods create blood sugar imbalances that can cause food cravings by triggering huge surges of dopamine (the feel good chemical) in the pleasure centre of the brain.
We get way more dopamine from fast foods (such as potato chips) than is released when we eat natural, non-manufactured foods (an apple, for example). And then we want more and more of that dopamine-driven pleasure. Yup, fast foods are addictive.
And fast foods are available everywhere. They're not just ultra tasty, they're ultra convenient. Requiring minimum expenditure of energy to obtain or to chew or to digest. .
But fast foods aren't providing the nutrition -- some 45 different nutrients a day, Trivia reminded me this morning -- that our bodies actually require to survive and to thrive with good health. Vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, fibre.
What about fast facts? Oh my goodness, they are SO tasty!! We can all munch on 'em together!! Because hyperpalatable fast facts rely increasingly on the synergy of our self-selected social media groups. Where (unlike maybe in "real" life) everybody agrees with our received "opinions" (no basis in fact necessarily required).
No no no, we can just keep on scrolling and clicking to get more and more dopamine affirmations that yup, we're "right". Of course we're right!!! And with shared emotions and artificially heightened feelings we can also "troll" those who might have the temerity to disagree. Anonymously. Now how pleasurable is that??
Because after all: everyone is entitled to their opinion. Right? No energy, no responsibility required to seek out reliable facts, to digest actual facts, to think. Right? It's my right!!
But: do fast facts actually provide the solid, fact-checked information required for our social and political institutions -- our democracies -- to survive and to thrive?
Here's a "fact checked" version of another powerful and historic speech:
In their comments on recent blogs, a number of Sparkies have expressed their sad and regretful conviction that maybe Americans no longer have the capacity to act with goodness and with kindness. That Americans have just become too self-interested. Too divided. Inwardly turned to focus upon their own like-minded groups for continuous reinforcement of their own biases and prejudices and privilege.
But here's another person (yup, it's a cut and paste from the text) who is hopeful. Who says and who believes of the American citizenry, "We’re a good and decent people."
A good and decent people. People who are prepared to gather and to digest some of the less palatable facts. To do that work, and to do whatever other work that's required.
Good and decent people?