I’m reading a book called “The Dorito Effect” and it raised and answered an interesting question:
Why does food have flavour?
It’s a question that reinforces why you shouldn’t eat anything with natural or artificial flavouring in it:
When you eat a blueberry, your body associates the nutritional content of the blueberry with the FLAVOUR of the blueberry. So let’s assume that a blueberry has a high level of antioxidants. When you eat a blueberry, your body associates “blueberry flavour” with “anti-oxidants”. If your body is ever in need of antioxidants, it will begin to “crave” blueberry flavour (and any other flavours it has associated with anti-oxidants).
Similarly, if your body has a lack of vitamin C, it will “crave” flavours that are associated with vitamin C. If your body has a lack of protein, or fat, it will crave flavours it associates with protein or fat.
The Problem with Flavour-Added Foods
It doesn’t matter if a food has “natural flavours” or “artificial flavours” added to it. Toxicity of the flavouring is not the issue. The issue is the flavour-to-nutrient association your body is learning. Eating blueberry jam made of only blueberries and sugar, associates that flavour with the nutritional content of blueberries and sugar. However, if you eat “blueberry jam” made of gelatine, sugar, and blueberry FLAVOUR, it throws misinformation at your body. Now your body associates the flavour of blueberries with the nutritional profile of Gelatine + Sugar.
Similarly, if you are drinking chocolate flavoured protein shakes, your body will associate “Protein” with “chocolate flavour”. So when your body is lacking in protein, you will get the urge to eat chocolate, as your body now associates protein intake with chocolate flavour. It is one of the problems with “binge eating”: Your body craves something, some micro or macro nutrient or vitamin, but it’s so confused with the crazy flavours it’s been receiving, that your body doesn’t know what flavour represents the nutrients it wants. So it just begins to crave everything!
All this to say, that if you believe in listening to your body, and believe that your body knows what’s good for it, it is SUPPER IMPORTANT to stay away from any food flavourings, natural or artificial. FOOD SHOULD BE THE FLAVOUR OF IT’S KEY INGREDIENTS, and should not rely on flavouring without the accompanying nutritional profile. Spices are ok because the entire spice is used, which has it’s own nutritional profile.
Rules for Flavourful Eating
- Eat for Real Flavor
In nature, flavor never appears without nutrition, so eat the best tasting real food you can find, whose flavor tells the story of it’s nutrition. No food should pass your lips before you have asked yourself: “Where did the flavor come from?”. If the flavor came from the plant or animal you are eating, then keep eating. If it was applied by a human with a PhD, don’t eat it.
- Avoid Synthetic Flavor Technology
Each time you consume a human-made flavor, you’re tricking your brain. The more you do it, the greater the consequences. Read the ingredients. The following words indicate the presence of chemicals that fool your nose: flavor, natural flavor, and artificial flavor. The following words indicate the presence of chemicals that fool your tongue: monosodium glutamate / MSG, disodium guanlyate, disodium inosinate, torula yeast, yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast, saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, advantame, stevia.
- Eat a Variety of Real Foods
Recognize that your palate is a growing, living thing. It can and will change. Nibble new foods. Try something ten times before you know for sure you don’t like it. Give your body a chance to learn the nutritional profile of the food.
- Eat Foods you Find Deeply Satisfying
If your body is properly calibrated, and there are no false flavors in the food, then your body should know what it needs.
- Eat Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are good for you. Use them to complement the flavor of your food, not to cover up the underlying blandness.
- If you Eat Meat, Eat Meat from Pastured Animals
Choose grass-fed beef that’s at least 22 months old
Chickens should be at least 12–18 weeks old, that have access to pasture in warmer months and green feed when it’s too cold to go outside.
- Complain when the Flavor is Lacking
If the food you bought tastes like cardboard, complain. No one will know you care if you don’t say anything. The only way to improve the quality of food available to us is to demand it.
- Don’t Take Vitamin Pills
If your body is in need of vitamins, eating a pill could setup an unintended flavor preference.