It’s happening: The explosion of chemically manufactured artificial and “natural” flavors is making healthful, wholesome foods less flavorful.
Health, or lack thereof, has become an increasingly larger focus in our culture, and as sugar, fat, carbs and other nutrition indicators get critiqued for causing people to be overweight, Big Food continues to come under fire for being a driving force behind processed foods that serve these in growing amounts.
Understanding The Dorito Effect To Navigate Food Choices
Beyond discussing the foods that contribute to obesity, however, Journalist Mark Schatzker took a closer look at how culture, diet and science have caused us to detour from truly wholesome food to modified flavors that disrupt our senses and appetites. In his book The Dorito Effect, Schatzker examines how our cravings for flavor have led us to eat so much more than we used to.
What is The Dorito Effect?
Before Doritos, corn chips used to taste like corn. It wasn’t until the VP of marketing wanted to get more people to eat tortilla chips that they began tasting like tacos. This was possible because flavor scientists figured out how to apply this taco flavor as an artificially created dusting to the chips, and it won consumers over.
Since then, the idea of creating flavors using chemicals to replicate real food tastes has migrated to all kinds of foods, including chicken. Even organic raw chicken can have added flavors on the label.
And if all food is becoming more Dorito-like, that means every meal is feeling like a Dorito binge – something you’ll crave, but less satisfying than fully nutritious food. Plus, with the magnification of delicious flavor options plus more mass-produced food, whole foods like cucumbers and tomatoes are actually losing their flavor profiles and becoming more bland and, in this case, watery.
What effect does this have on metabolic fitness?
The artificial and “natural” ingredients that are now being used to impose flavor on unusual foods are interfering with your body’s appetite and nutritional requests. The ingredients used to make these flavors aren’t necessarily harmful, themselves, but by tricking your body’s signals into thinking it’s hungry for certain tastes, you’re actually eating more food overall and consuming less nutritional benefit.
When your body is working harder to constantly digest food, burn energy resources and complete its basic processes to work efficiently, your metabolic fitness decreases, which can lead to less physical endurance and energy, worsened sleep, impaired memory, inflammation, unhealthy weight and a weakened immune system, among other symptoms.
How do I get back on track with whole, nutritional foods?
Your health doesn’t have to go downhill with the increasingly processed foods. There are a few ways to combat the addiction to chemically manufactured flavors:
- Eat food that tastes like what it is. Keep things simple and choose whole, healthy foods with their authentic tastes in tow to help your brain understand what you’re eating and what nutrients it needs more of.
- Do a gut check. Your gut actually has flavor and nutrition receptors in it to understand what your body needs to function well. After some time digesting, your nutritional wisdom kicks in and you can tell if the food you consumed makes you feel satisfied, energized, calm and steady, or if it’s causing you to feel sluggish, foggy or uncomfortable.
- Try intermittent fasting. When you allow your body time to digest your food, it can better process the nutrients and allow space for cleaning out toxins and helping your body work efficiently. Plus, if you eat your first meal slowly – especially after a fast – your sense of taste will be intensified and the true flavors of pure and nutritious food will shine.
- Journal. Writing for just 15 minutes a day is one of the easiest ways to improve your mental health and create new habits by processing your thoughts in an analytical way and giving yourself space to react and respond to them.
What can I do to change my relationship with food?
After taking an initial look into your diet and what you’re typically reaching for throughout the day, it always helps to have a support touchpoint to get your relationship with food back on track. Temper’s coaching program provides one-on-one, personalized assistance to help you cultivate and reinforce an intentional eating practice and make nutritional and satisfying food choices.
By having accountability and resources to make the best decisions and maintain momentum, you can enjoy richer, more fulfilling experiences with food daily without the scrambled appetite signals and extra calories consumed. The coaches in our program guide clients through mental exercises that use applied neuroscience techniques to counteract The Dorito Effect.