How Big Agriculture Has Made Us Fat

Farming and 'Big Agriculture' has affected our food more than just GMO. A fascinating new book from journalist Mark Schatzker explores how alters in food production have made our food taste bland, forcing us to dump seasonings and add-ons to turn then edible. In "The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor," Schatzker learned that as taste in food diminished, so has nutrition. These man-made flavors mimic flavors found in nature and make us believe we're getting nutrition that actually isn't there. He argues this is what's really driving the obesity epidemic. The solution? Retrain our palates. 

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Two examples he focuses on in the book is tomatoes and chicken which have been diluted nutritionally. Believe it or not, chicken used to be quite rare and now it's so common and cheap that it actually doesn't taste good in most cases. 

Why?

Manufacturers are packing food with synthetic flavors. That brings to light the other side which is flavor technology. The 1950s sparked this new era of flavor technology leaving the term 'natural' to mean anything but.

That's right, your favorite lemon water may have nothing to do with lemon. The term 'natural' refers to how it was made, not what it is. 

Schatzker outlines the following example:

"You can isolate 15 different chemical compounds from different "natural" sources — tree bark, yeast, lawn clippings — and blend them to create a flavoring that tastes like strawberry. But it will have no strawberry in it, and none of the antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, or minerals. It's just the experience of strawberry."

Learn more about the book here