Why Do We Love Favorite Foods?

Did you ever feel that you were practically born to eat a certain favorite food? Maybe you actually were.

In the 1990’s, German nutrition researchers conducted a taste test at the Frankfurter Messe, a trade fair drawing booksellers from all over the world for a week in Frankfurt. They gave people two samples of ketchup. One was ordinary ketchup. The other was ketchup with a minute amount of vanilla added, not enough for the taste of vanilla to be detected.

The researchers then asked a number of questions about the taste testers’ childhoods. They found that those who knew they had been breastfed preferred the “straight” ketchup, but those who knew they had been given formula preferred vanilla. Breast milk, of course, does not come vanilla-flavored, but formula usually does. The tastes to which were are exposed as children becomes the tastes we crave—without even knowing it—all the rest of our lives.

The researchers made an additional, interesting discovery. They found that people who liked vanilla tended to eat low-calorie foods, but lots of them. They found that people who did not like vanilla tended to eat high-calorie foods, but not very much of them. In fact, the people who preferred vanilla and low-calorie foods actually ate more total calories than the people who preferred natural flavors and high-calories foods.

We can’t go back in time and tell our mothers we like to be breastfed.

So what can we do to compensate for hunger for lots and lots of food?

When you want to scarf something down because it’s “good for you” but you don’t like it, serve it on a round plate or in a round bowl. When you want to savor the taste of food, try angular serving plates and bowls. Don’t be afraid to use a modicum of sugar, butter, cream, and salt, unless you have very specific (and very unusual) health reasons for not using them, to make healthy foods more palatable. As you read later in this book, sugar, fat, and salt can be a small part of a healthy diet. Don’t be taken in by “Mom’s” or “homestyle” foods, but make foods a part of happy personal and family memories.

The foods you will eat in old age are the foods you associate with happy memories now. Eat breakfast foods for breakfast, lunch foods for lunch, and dinner foods for dinner. The fact that certain foods are traditional for certain times of day has as much to do with physiology as culture. Keep you kitchen clean, remember that the food you taste first tends to be the food you taste last (as an aftertaste), and that the foods you resist, persist.

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May 05th by admin

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