Daily Read: Matters of Taste

If you are like me, you struggle daily with the temptation to eat food that you know isn’t good for you. I have a terrible weakness for sour cream and onion Ruffles; Mother’s taffy cookies; and just about anything chocolate, fried, or both! I have done a good amount of reading on nutrition science as it relates to obesity, and the focus is usually on the big three offenders: fat, sugar, and salt. But as we all know, fat, sugar, and salt don’t tempt us if they aren’t delivered in a package that tastes good. That’s where today’s Daily Read comes in. Julia Belluz of Vox interviews Mark Schatzker, a journalist and author of the book The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor. Schatzker makes a connection that should be obvious: if it doesn’t taste good, we aren’t as tempted to eat it. And food manufacturers know this, which is why foods like the titular Doritos did not become wildly popular until they were dusted with flavor enhancers. I’m amazed that such a simple idea hasn’t garnered more attention, but the focus on fat, sugar, and salt has sucked all the air out of the room. Schatzker’s conclusions aren’t necessarily going to help me resist my cravings – I already know how good sour cream and onion Ruffles taste! – but knowing how taste affects our appetites, cravings, and choices may help us find ways to make food that’s actually good for us more palatable.

The Dorito Effect: Healthy food is blander than ever — and it’s making us fat

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