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-   -   Why does bad food taste so good? (https://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=8320)

William Williams 08-10-2005 03:22 PM

To clarify a bit, the exactly question was "Why do foods that are in general worse for your body usually taste better than the ones that are healthier?" The obvious example was candy or dessert vs. vegetables.

This question actually came up during lunch today and my co-workers had several different opinions on it. Being as health-conscious as the Crossfit community is, I was wondering what viewpoint the members of this board might take.

I ran through the search function to see if there was a previous thread regarding this, but came up empty handed so I'm hoping this isn't a repeat.

James Falkner 08-10-2005 03:47 PM

I think salt and refined sugar and refined fat are different than what the cave people used to eat, so it tastes good, simply because it's different than the usual run of berries and bark and raw buffalo tongue.

Just a guess

Or maybe we've been tongue-washed by Big Government and Big Business to like the taste of the cheapest, easiest-to-mass-produce junk food out there. If it's cheap and fast, we eat it, and start a vicious cycle.

Sort of like crack.

Scott Kustes 08-10-2005 04:24 PM

Because fruits and vegetables aren't tailor made to stimulate your taste buds in exact ways. Candy, desserts, etc are made with chemicals that science has produced knowing that we will enjoy the taste and therefore want more, causing increased consumption, leading to increased profits.

Fruits and vegetables taste just fine once you get over the sugar addiction. I enjoy the flavor of so many fruits and veggies that I used to hate now that my diet is clean (most of the time), such as strawberries, broccoli, asparagus, canteloupe, and others. The artificial flavors are aggressive and therefore cause a huge "wow" factor to the taste buds.

Brad Hirakawa 08-10-2005 09:19 PM

Most desserts and candy make me sick. I seem to remember they even hurt my teeth, and I have zero cavities in my adult teeth. If you ask me what makes them "taste better"... I would guess that in some circumstances, it's nuture more than nature, as my mother never fed me that ****e as a kid. I bet after a long period of abstinence from these sweets(perhaps very long), some folks would adjust.

I own stock in a few companies that make drugs for type II diabetes. So tell you friends and coworkers to eat up.


Chris Longley 08-11-2005 03:26 AM

Could be to do with the way that excess sugar stimulates the narcotic centres of the brain and blunts your sweet receptors so that in the end you need the sugary-ness of desserts to satisfy your addiction and stimulate your taste buds.

Cut out sugar for a while and the craving's will go away and your sweet receptors will become more sensitive so that fruit and veg will taste sweeter and really sugary desserts will just make you feel ill.

Skip Chase 08-16-2005 10:38 AM

The majority of Americans are addicted to sugar. Period. We were given 'treats' for being good little boys and girls. We celebrate with treats. All of our major holidays are celebrated with sugar..Valentines Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. You, me and all of us are addicted to sugar unless your parents were part of the VERY FEW who raised you without sugar. Our food manufacturers are aware of our addiction to sugar so they load up foods and juices with it. I gave up sugar 6 years ago. When I walk into a grocery store, my eyes will see candy and food with sugar that I used to eat, and upon first glimpse, my 'psychological switch' will go off, and I will want it, but my self talk is conditioned now to say, POISON, POISON. I don't touch it. If 'the bad stuff' does not go in the grocery cart, it does not get eaten. That is what we must teach ourselves.
As an 'in home' personal trainer, my first step is to meet with a client at their home and go through the fridge and pantry. We identify the 'bad stuff' and if I am to accept them as a client, they MUST eliminate the bad stuff from the shopping list. I reserve the right, per my agreement, to venture into the kitchen for 'spot inspections' any time I enter their home.
Don't bring it home and you won't eat it!

Kevin Czarnecki 08-17-2005 12:30 PM

I think it's more of an evolutionary reason. The human animal works on the "pleasure principle." It craves instant gratifaction at an instinctual level. Food high in sugar and fat are dense in calories and can be quickly used by the body as energy. Vegetables and very lean protein take more time for the body to digest, more to become usable. The body knows this and wants that quick, dense energy. Because of this, the "bad" food is percieved as very tasteful, therefore, you want to it more of it. The "good" food taste bland because it is not densly packed and/or easily digestable.

Just my hypothesis:-)

Skip Chase 08-17-2005 05:14 PM

I could be wrong Kevin, but if it was evolutionary, we would all be meat and potatoes kind of people. Just 150 years ago, we were using 4-8000 calories per day. Hard physical labor. We ate about the same...meat, meat and more meat. Lot's of fat. We just killed a critter and ate it. But we weren't fat because we had to tend the fields and build the cabin and the barn and wagon and tools..... you get the point. NO SUGAR. We couldn't go grap a snickers at the local am/pm. Our craving for sugar is a conditioned response. Pleasure comes from what the external stimuli conditions the mind to enjoy. I was conditioned to enjoy coke, juices and sweet drinks. That is what was poured into my glass, as a child. No one drank water. I hated water. Now I am conditioned to love water. It is the only liquid that quenches my thirst. I don't know when or how the sugar thing got going...all the holidays celebrated with candy...but we have to change for the health of our children.

Scott Kustes 08-17-2005 07:31 PM

Skip, I'm going to go with Kevin on this one. There's a reason that fat and sugar are the main tastes for humans and that protein is relatively tasteless (chicken tastes like whatever you put on it, eggs are mostly tasteless except that fatty yolk). We evolved in a world rife with protein, but where fat and carbs were more precious commodities. There is some nurture to it, but there's a great deal of nature involved as well.

Jason Berger 08-17-2005 08:36 PM

According to Lights Out, its basis is evolutionary function: at the end of summer our caveman bodies would anticipate the coming months of scarcity and create carbo-urges to fire up insulin levels, creating fat for the coming winter. Also, late summer is a good time for the body to crave sweets because this is when most carbs fruit/flower.

However, whoever commented that science has constructed foods that release pleasant chemicals is right on the money, in my opinion.


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