Follow Here To Purchase The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor

Author: Mark Schatzker
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781476724218

For a long time I have noticed that tomatoes just don’t have the flavor they should and wondered why. This book has the answer! With a look at foods as varied as tomatoes, chicken, and lettuce, Mark Schatzker explains how agriculture and business have raised food with an eye to increasing yield at the expense of flavor and nutrition. As our food has become blander, industry has come up with the solution of using ‘natural flavor’ made from sources such as pine cones or other non-food sources to replace the flavors we have lost in our food. Many bland, carbohydrate and sugar filled foods have been over-seasoned to cover the tasteless nutritionally bankrupt reality.

Schatzker explores how this affects eating habits, nutrition, and obesity. From studies on goat feeding and nutrition, sheep feed, and flavor impact on feeding, and studies on how various flavors affect mood and digestion, this book offers intriguing information that could have you reading all the labels in your supermarket before dropping items into your cart. Flavor in nature is linked with nutritional composition. Schatzker points out that the flavor sensing parts of your body are controlled by more DNA than any other part of the body and that nothing engages more parts of your brain than tasting food.

Schatzker also talks about how the substituted ‘natural’ flavors leave your body still craving the nutrition that is missing from the food you are eating, so the urge is there to keep eating to fill the missing vitamins, minerals or other micronutrients. If a person continues eating the same highly flavored but nutritionally bankrupt food they will fill up on the carbohydrate and sugar high items but still not have satisfied the deep need their body has for some mineral or micronutrient. The author calls this a bait and switch because the food you are eating promises certain nutrients because of its scent and flavor, but then does not fulfill that promise. The food nature makes triggers a deeper more complete satiety which Schatzker says is linked to secondary compounds and toxicity. You can’t eat as much before the hunger light goes off.

After pointing out all of the problems with the current high yielding but bland crops, which are then highly seasoned for our consumption, Schatzker talks about how some scientists are beginning to look again at breeding and selecting plants for combined yield and flavor. Some of the successes include tomatoes and potatoes that have a good yield and delicious true tomato or potato flavor. I especially enjoyed reading about Harry Klee’s quest to crack the mystery of delicious tomatoes.

This is a very interesting blend of scientific and personal experience melded into a smooth presentation about how the changes in our food production over time have led to the current obesity and health problems. The presented solutions are creative and show promise for future improvement of our food crops. The suggestions for currently selecting food for health are excellent. I recommend this book for those who think that eating organically has solved all problems, because this will be a wakeup about the more complex problem with foods bred for high yield have which simply raising organically does not solve.