I have just finished the book, The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker. It was one of the few books that I have ever started and completed within 24 hours.
I would call myself a health nut. Not to glamorize self-diagnosis, but… after spending untold amounts on doctor visits which failed to yield an explanation for my ever-growing list of symptoms, I became self-educated and ended up fixing my problems with natural remedies. This event was the catalyst for almost a decade and hundreds of hours spent keeping up with the latest findings in the health field (to clarify, not the newest pharmaceutical, but rather, how our bodies actually work and how to fix them and keep them healthy). I don’t discredit medical technology as a whole, as it does save lives, but the system is broken, and we all know it.
I first heard this author on the Model Health Show explaining his research on flavor, and his enthusiasm for the niche grabbed me with an iron grip. Why was this man so excited about how tomatoes tasted?
Natural flavor. In short, it is the flavor that is, actually, not natural, but synthesized by human hands from “natural” compounds (in the way that gasoline is “natural” because it comes from a substance we get from nature) and added to foods. Where does flavor come from? I will not spoil the book by telling you, it comes from vitamins and minerals. Vitamins have flavor. Therefore, when your brain and olfactory sense associate a “natural” flavor (let’s say strawberry), that is in a food that does not contain the nutrients naturally occurring in a strawberry (let’s say folate). Then your brain thinks it is somehow not absorbing the nutrients and prompts your hunger to increase, satiety to decrease, and for you to crave that food.
Light bulb moment anyone?
We are overeating largely because natural flavors our tricking our brains into thinking we are malnourished (we are) and that we can get those needed nutrients from pop-tarts (we cannot).
Although my health is good, I would say, and my weight and fitness level is far superior to the average American, I decided to do my brain a favor.
No more foods with added flavoring. Period.
Okay, so I will still go out to restaurants and have days where I enjoy more indulgent foods, that likely are flavored. As an everyday practice, however, I have had no difficulty removing everything that has flavor in it from my daily life. Well, added flavor, that is. I want to taste food the way it actually is and help my body identify the nutrients that it needs the way it was designed to. I would challenge you to do the same, but first pick up The Dorito Effect and read the fascinating journey Schatzker went on to discover this information and pack it into a book you can read in a day.
You will not be disappointed!