Mark Schatzker, author of the Dorito Effect: the surprising new truth about food and flavor, has recently published an editorial piece in the Wall Street Journal where he talk about how flavor can drive our nutrition.
He surmises that the reason why we are losing the “war on obesity” is because we are missing “a crucial piece of the food puzzle: one day the enemy was the fat, then carbs and today the sugar, but it’s a fact that obesity is growing and there are no diet or guru capable to fight it.
So, he ask the simple question: How does our food taste?
Schatzker points out that animal use the senses of taste and smell to identify nutrients crucial to life and that even insects use flavor chemicals to determine whether a potential food is good or is poisoned. Humans are very similar in that our flavor-sensing genes take up more DNA than any other function of the body!
The author offers some studies where persons, even children, have perfectly regulated their nutrition simply following their sense of flavor. One of this study, concern the tomatoes components : 20 most important flavor compounds found in tomatoes are synthesized from critical nutrients such as omega-3 fats and essential amino acids. The elements that make a tomato nutritious also make it delicious. The authors of the study suggests that flavor compounds provide important information about the nutritional makeup of foods.
Another important aspect of Schatzker’s theory is that for more than 50 years, we have been eating food with bland flavor and he offers up as evidence, the cardboard taste of tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, chicken, pork, and even beef. A prove? Last researches have demonstrate that modern tomatoes have only 50% of the calcium and vitamin A as did tomatoes produced in the 1950s!
It’s not a coincidence that today there are global Corporations which are making billions annually from manufacturing synthetic or chemical flavorings necessary to add back to food some semblance of taste or flavor.
What is the end of this story?
The author suggests that consumers spend their money of the “good stuff” and not empty, flavor-added calories. By seeking out and purchasing foods with real flavor, the consumer will be voting with their pocketbook and then the free market will respond in kind.