I finally finished The End of Overeating. It has some great sections, but overall I had trouble finishing it because of the dry writing style. A lot of the food in the book blamed for overeating is meat. But if you keep reading, it's not really meat so much as a flavorless factory-farmed protein matrix for sugar and soybean oil engineered to induce exccessive consumption. Now that I only eat homemade pastured meat (and occasionally meat at some very good restaurants that source responsibly), I never gorge on meat. But I confess that before I cleaned up my diet, I did have trouble restraining myself with things like General Tso's Chicken and fried Buffalo Wings. When I see a study that shows meat causes weight gain, I kind of want to know "what meat?". If you mean this kind of garbage, that's not meat or food at all, that's an industrial product:
In China, dishes like orange-flavored chicken and sweet-and-sour chicken are widely available, but again, all the sugar is an American contribution. The dish we call "General Tso's Chicken" is loaded with sugar, much to the consternation of the Taiwanese chef who created it. "The dish can't be sweet," he insisted. "The taste of Hunan cuisine is not sweet."
The Orange Chicken is described on the menu as "tender, juicy chicken pieces lightly battered and fried, sauteed in a sweet and mildly spicy chili sauce with scallions." Preparation of the dish begins in the factory, where the meat is processed, battered, fried, and frozen. Like many processed meats, the dark chicken chunks contain as much as 19 percent of a water-based solution; oil and salt are added as well.
Boxes containing eight four-pound bags of ginger-citrus sauce, each with a refrigerated shelf life of about four months, are shipped to Chili's restaurants to accompany the chicken. The ingredients in the sauce sound relatively benign: sugar, hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, chili paste, modified food starch, and orange juice concentrate. But sugar is the dominant nutrient, and salt is listed three times.
About the Boneless Shanghai Wings, he said, "Taking it off the bone is like taking the husk off the nut." That processing step reduces the need for chewing, making the food faster to consume. Those wings contain a solution of up to 25 percent water, hydrolyzed soy protein, salt, and sodium phosphate. The water is in there for several reasons. First, it bulks up the chicken-the industry calls this "reducing shrinkage." Second, water is cheaper than chicken breast, so it's less costly to produce. And finally, water makes the food softer and chewing easier. Before the chicken is shipped from the manufacturing plant, it's battered, breaded, predusted, and frozen. This creates a salty coating that becomes crispy when fried in fat. "All this stuff absorbs fat, dries out this batter and breading, and replaces water with oil. So now you've got batter and breading that is probably 40 percent fat," according to the food consultant. The crispy coating, which also contains corn-syrup solids, dried yeast, and soybean oil, may represent up to half the volume of the nuggets on the plate.