In The Dorito Effect, Mark Schatzker shows us how our approach to the nation's number-one public health crisis has gotten it wrong. The epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are not tied to the overabundance of fat or carbs. Instead we have been led astray by the growing divide between flavor - the tastes we crave - and the underlying nutrition.
Since the late 1940s, we have been slowly leeching flavor out of the food we grow. Simultaneously we have taken great leaps forward in technology, allowing us to produce in the lab the very flavors that are being lost on the farm. Thanks to this largely invisible epidemic, seemingly healthy food is becoming more like junk food: highly craveable but nutritionally empty. We have unknowingly interfered with an ancient chemical language - flavor - that evolved to guide our nutrition, not destroy it.
©2015 Mark Schatzker (P)2015 Dreamscape Media, LLC
The idea that the same "palletizers" used to make live stock gain weight as fast as possible are common in processed human food rocked my world. Likewise, the notion that this is necessary because crops and live stock have been breed to maximize yield and appearance while flavor has been left out of the equation. It's a whole new piece of the epidemic obesity puzzle.
I heard about this book on an Underground Wellness podcast. The author interviewed well and peaked my interest. Glad I purchased it. There's lot's of information in this book, regarding how our food has changed. To my surprise, this has been going on longer than I thought!The narrator was good, and didn't put me to sleep. I've listened to this twice and have placed several bookmarks.
Anybody whose parting advice is, "Eat dark chocolate & drink wine," has information I want. The author takes our modern society's problem with obesity to a whole new level. Flavor is a key. The reader was easy to listen to & the information was life changing.
To me, the genius of this book is Mark's ability to tell his horrifying tale of the state of food and flavor this country without coming off as an alarmist. It would be really easy to write this story with an accusatory tone, but Mark documents the history of how food production has changed over the last 40 years, without demonizing anyone in particular. And for that reason, I hope it will be less likely to be dismissed because I think what he is saying makes a lot of sense, and if people pay attention, it will make an enormous difference in the lives of millions of Americans. Maybe it is cynical, but the hopeful part to me, is that there is money to be made in making food more nutritious, and money is what makes things change. I'm now voting for change with every dollar of food money that I spend.
The Dorito Effect is very similar to the book Salt, Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. Schatzker seems to know this and tries to differentiate it by arguing that pointing to just Salt Sugar and Fat is too simplistic. He argues that thousands of flavour chemicals can also be blamed for the modern obesity epidemic and this is really the highlight of the book. The other main theme of the book is that fresh produce has drastically lost flavour and nutrition over the last 70 years. While this sounds completely plausible to me, the evidence he offers is surprisingly scant. His strongest evidence that chicken has lost flavour is a sentence in a Julia Child cookbook. As far as depleted nutrition, he offers up just one study where he admits the results where mixed. Also his tone towards the food industry is gratingly cynical which gives the impression that his assertions are motivated more by contempt than by logic. All in all the book is simply takes second place to Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss which basically argues the same thing but better.
Our food is diluted. That's why I love this time of year when my garden yields undiluted vegetables that are so full of flavour that all I add is butter or a tiny bit of salt. Tomatoes that are taste sensations! Really delicious potatoes, corn, cucumbers, etc This flavour is missing in action in our supermarkets and I want it found. The time has come and it is not hard to do. If that's what the consumer wants and demands the market will provide it. Read this book and find out how we are duped.
This is a must read! It is incredibly eye opening. The research, dedication, and time put into gathering the data to write this book is impressive. plus, the narrator was excellent and kept me locked in and always wanting more the entire time.
The title of the book makes sense after reading the book, but I wouldn't have read this book if I hadn't heard a very positive review of it. I don't eat processed food - I cook from scratch - I thought the book would be irrelevant to me. But the issues raised are bigger than just our personal choices (though there is plenty of information to consider there too. It was an interesting mix of history and current research along with cultural musings. I recommend it.
"The food movement is creeping out of inertia"
Most informative. Well researched & adding power to the poor, unprotected, unsuspecting consumer of industralised food. But why knock the authenticity of the sugar problem (at the beginning of the book?). The author knows what he is talking about, but industrial chemicals are not the only problem. You do not have to knock other scientifically proven issues to expound your own findings. But mainly a most excellent book.
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