Have you ever wondered why healthy food is not as tasty as unhealthy food? How anyone would much rather have a slice of gooey pizza than crispy green leaves from the salad bar? It turns out, all of this boils down survival instincts, among a few other reasons. Read on for more.
PLANTS ARE BORING
Plants are available aplenty in nature. Since they are bountiful, our survival mechanisms do not draw us to want to eat them, as chances are we would have to eat them anyway. Moreover, plants tend to be quite bitter. This bitterness makes the brain fear that they could be poisonous. Regardless of plants and their benefits, our bodies require other types of fuel as well.
BUT FRIES ARE PLANTS, RIGHT?
While we may not be drawn to eating most plants, we cannot get enough of fries. Why is that? According to Russell Kesat, a professor of food science, there are three main nutrients that drive our taste buds: Salt, Fat and Sugar.
Salt - We all learned in biology that life began in the ocean. The origins of life were surrounded by salty solution, necessary for survival. Our cells still need a sodium solution to thrive, but we no longer live in saltwater (well some of us do in the summer when we go to Mallorca). Therefore, we need to find ways to replenish the missing sodium in our bodies. A survival mechanism of the body, as such, would draw us to eat foods that had a relatively high, but not harmful, level of sodium. This is why we crave salty food in the 21st century. That explains the cheeky late night Moo Shu Pork!
Fat - We need energy to be able to expend energy; we are unable to move around if we have no fuel to do so. As such our survival instincts drive us towards dense sources of energy, also known as ‘fats’. Avocado? More like avo-LOVE-o.
Sugar - While fats are a huge source of energy or calories, they take longer to break down into glucose for us to be able to use as energy. Sugar, on the other hand, is a readily available form of energy. Once you eat it, you have energy. Can you say ‘sugar-rush’?
WHERE’S THE BEEF?
While we have seen the benefit of eating foods high in Salt, Fat and Sugar, we tend to overdo it. What is the reason for this? These types of foods used to be scarce, resulting in a powerful driving force to eat them. Which brings us to our next point.
Junk food is engineered to be addictive - playing on our desire for salty, fatty and sugary foods. The most popular children’s cereals in the US are 75% sugar! And that is just breakfast! Moreover, you will often find that burger you love actually has added sugar to make you go back for more. Now that we have fast food shops popping up on either end of our local High Street, we are finding ourselves unable to resist the temptation, slowly becoming an actual addiction, according to Web MD.
What is even scarier is the more of these foods you eat, the less sensitive your taste buds will be to salty and sweet foods, putting you in a perpetuating cycle which cannot be easily broken.
DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD
The strange thing is that although we know that in high amounts, these types of foods are bad for us, we succumb to the urge anyway. Have you ever questioned this phenomenon?
Whether we like it or not, we have influencing factors all around us, telling us what to like, do and feel. Tom Sawyer provides a key example: he famously convinced some children to help him paint a fence, by pretending it was really fun. They believed him. Now you are thinking, I would never fall for that. Think again. Marketing tactics of fast food brands with a large budget behind them have managed to convince you that we are all ‘Lovin’It’ (even though it may increase your bad cholesterol levels to amounts you would not love, putting you at a higher risk of cardiac arrest).
LEAD WITH THE HEAD BUT ALSO WITH THE HEART
The long and the short of it is, we need both ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ foods in the right amounts. How do we know when to decide between health or taste? It is an ongoing compromise. The obvious answer is usually health. At the end of the day, health is a number one priority which determines defence against disease, life-span and overall functionality of the body. In the next breath, no one would want their last meal to be a kale salad. We also need to treat ourselves sometimes, because our bodies need it.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of healthy options that are also delicious. We need to put the time and effort in to find them and we also need to find the right companies who put in the same time and effort.
At Offblak, we believe people should be able to enjoy both HEALTH and TASTE, without compromise. We want everyone to reap the health benefits of what we put in our bodies, while also enjoying the taste of it. It must be magic, right? No, it is not. We just care about our consumers’ health AND taste buds! While taste is truly subjective, our natural and nutritious teas have undergone major research, development and taste tests to make them both HEALTHY and TASTY to the majority. The great news is you can try them for free! Sign up on our website. Let us know what you think ;)