Quantifying the “Golden Ratio” of Hyper-Palatable Foods: What Makes Junk Food So Addictive?

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Florida Southern College
The rising popularity of hyper-palatable foods is motivating research on what makes a food addictive. The current research focuses on neurological and psychological explanations, not on the foods’ physical makeup. It is suggested that food companies strategize the ratio of salts, sugars, and fats to overcome a person’s natural eating regulation, or sensory-specific satiety (SSS.) This strategy is referred to as the “golden ratio” or “bliss point” but has never been quantified. The study will compare popular and unpopular potato chips as determined by purchasing trends and rankings. For this investigation, the salt, sugar, and fat content was measured through analyzing chloride, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, and solid fat content. Subsequent statistical analyses will find if different ratios exist between popular and unpopular potato chips. If a common ratio is found, it could aid in ingredient reduction without affecting palatability. This can be a major cost-saving measure for the food industry, and it could make foods healthier for people with conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Honors Thesis Spring 2022
Potato chips, Processed foods, Food industry and trade