Dependence and Addiction
Jonathan Wang '10

Whether in the works of fiction or as a pattern in real life, new technology often hooks people, convincing them of their need of a new prize. Just as the new style of agriculture that rises from progress in science takes a hold of the landscape, so does the spread of foods unlikely and unimaginable achieve a grasp on the American population. Many people warn against high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils because they are borderline addictive; the fact that foods can remain fresh for so long and taste so impossibly good, sweeter than any natural sugar and more satisfying than normal fat, causes people to obsess over the newest concoctions and combinations of culinary craft that seem too good to be true. McDonald's manipulates its burgers to make them more appealing, nearly narcotic with their induced high of contentment and ease, according to Morgan Spurlock's documentary "Supersize Me." In fact, many large corporations use the cheap deliciousness of food to maintain a certain population within its grasp; those that can only afford to buy cheap food then seriously consider purchasing from the large companies that can provide such addicting sustenance so readily and easily, and even those in a better financial circumstance participate in fast food. Convenience has become such a factor that it is an enormous industry: Americans spend over 110 billion dollars annually on fast food today. Fast food is only feasible thanks to relatively recent improvements in food technology; chemical preservation and modification makes a burger delectable hours after its preparation, providing chains with the opportunity to make it all seem so fast and advanced. Some people really do exhibit nearly addicted characteristics around certain foods; a high school mate of mine would buy and consume about six Coca-Colas a day, a financially feeble yet nutritionally unsound feat, and still consumes a great deal of cola each day. Energy drinks such as Red Bull and, more traditionally, coffee become addictions to those pressed for time and defiant of the natural order of the sun and the stars. My own brother would crave certain, terribly unhealthy candies and rush over to the local market to get his fix on every now and then. The convenience and taste of technologically modified foods is overwhelming, and it makes little sense, from certain perspectives, to pass up the opportunity. Food science has made certain brands of food so popular, easy, and delicious that people become addicted to them, often developing health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. A dependence on new food deprives people of health and awareness, forcing those addicted to the artifical substances to spiral into a bevy of health problems. Food science has engineered addictiveness, and corporations are using this power to its full potential.