Weighty Wednesday -- Flavorists

A few weeks ago I was watching a 60 minutes story that talked about flavorists.

Now, I knew there were food chemists in the world whose job it was to enhance flavors, but I didn't know they were paid to go to this extent in their endeavors. I've slept since then so I might have some of my facts wrong, but for the most part I think I remember enough to get this story right.

The story started out with a group of chemists going into the field to sniff and taste Mandarin oranges. Their job was to recreate the flavor in the laboratory.

Okay, fine.

I don't have a problem with them enhancing the various flavors of things. You did know there were no peaches in that peach tea you were drinking, right? Or the powdered pink lemonade you mixed with water actually had no lemons.

Flavorists are needed for a variety of jobs. And I totally support them and what they do, but then the story got ugly.

The ugly part of the story was where companies hired flavorists to not only enhance the flavor of a product, but to cut off the satisfaction of enjoyment triggering the need for another bite or drink to reach the endorphin release of happiness.

In other words, the flavor dissipates from your palate almost as soon as you finish a bite or drink.

This is the reason you can't eat just one chip, or cookie, or whatever, which results in the demolishing of the entire contents of said bag. Then you are depressed that you ate the entire bag and go eat something else.

No wonder this country is obese. Yes, over 60% of all Americans are overweight or obese.

Food producing companies are manipulating you!

They are using the knowledge that bar owners have had for a long time and taking it to the next level. For centuries, bar/pub owners used to serve salted peanuts, pretzels or other snacks when their clients drink beer. Why? Because you crave food when you drink and eating salty things will make you drink more.

Win-win  . . . for the bar owner.

Very few bar owners can afford freebies any longer, but they do have a limited menu of fried food stuffs that do the same thing.

I know I've wondered why the stuff I make at home doesn't quite have the same oomph as bought items. Now I know the trick. I always thought it had something to do with the preservatives but it was the other chemical stuff on the ingredients list. But I know that it has to do with the last item on many lists, "and added flavorings".

This is playing dirty pool, my friends. In other words, THEY'RE CHEATING YOU.

I've always been a fan of making baked goods from scratch, now more than ever before. I know what I use as the ingredients: butter, yeast, flour, sugar, etc. When I feel the urge to bake, I make it myself. Yes, the raw dough is ready for me to eat, but I would have eaten the raw dough from pre-packaged ready-to-bake products, too. And this time, I can limit my raw dough eating and actually have some baked products to show for my efforts.

This story simply topped off the concept of taking the time to make your own happiness.

If you don't know how to cook and bake, now is the time to learn.

Do it before it's too late and you become a statistic.

Later, Peeps!


Marilyn said...

Kind of creepy, isn't it?

I don't like all the messing around that's done with our food. I don't know about you, but when I look at a three-week loaf of bread that hasn't turned moldy, I don't think, "Wow, science!" I wonder, with a touch of paranoia, what the heck did they do to it.

A natural diet's looking better all the time.

Jody Werner said...

Their little tricks have never worked on me. I have no problem putting things down and managing portions. But then, I am not a 'foodie' either.

You'll have to think of a more compelling reason to get me to learn to cook. :)

That being said, I do try to avoid CRAP and buy organic and eat decently. Maybe that's why my palette is immune.

MAGolla said...

Marilyn -- Though I appreciate the long shelf life of bread and skim milk, I do wonder what they do to them. OH, well, guess there are trade-offs.

I remember watching a news show a few years ago where a child was diagnosed with ADHD. The parent didn't want to put her kid on meds, since she'd been observing his behavior fluctuations when he would eat certain products. Mom got rid of all the pre-packaged, heavily preservative laced products and after a month or so, her kid returned to "normal".

Companies may test lab rats, but humans don't always react the same. That show really opened my eyes.

MAGolla said...

Jods -- I think we have to all admit that you don't fit the 'norm', concerning your relation to food. I will try to emulate your example in the future. And actually, it's sort of working, as I don't crave certain items any longer!

Twisted Sistser said...

In college, I learned to make banana flavor--have never liked it since.
My daughter noticed that decreasing gluten worked for ADHD.
Organic on some things, on others you're wasting $$.
I do believe in making as much food from scratch as possible.
Good post, MAGS!

Cynthia D'Alba said...

I did know about this and it pisses me off. Yes, I know our lives would be so much better if we cooked from scratch and didn't use so much processed foods.

Interesting about gluten and ADHD. Doesn't surprise me. Our food isn't as "healthy" was it used to be.

MAGolla said...

Hey, Megs!

I made banana too! Organic chemistry. :-)

Actually it doesn't surprise me RE: gluten. I saw a promo for a Dr. Oz show (didn't get to see the show) where another doctor said there were over 50 diseases that were caused from some sort of gluten sensitivity.

MAGolla said...

Cyndi--I think the dirty little secret is how food companies are manipulating us. It makes me think twice about buying various products.

Jody Werner said...

They don't need to put nicotine in cigarettes or caffeine in drinks, either. They do it precisely because it is addictive. The non-caffeine version of Pepsi or Coke tastes pretty mucy the same as the caffeinated version. Any variation in flavor is probably intentional so you'll "think" caffeine makes it tastier.

MAGolla said...

Evil, evil, evil. . .