The Dorito Effect – Mark Schatzker

June 4, 2015 0 Comments

The Dorito Effect - Mark Schatzker

The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor

Have you ever wondered why those pesky diets we suffer through when we want to loose a few pounds don’t work? New diet fads come and go  including the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, Nutrisystem, SomerSizing, and the very popular Paleo diet to name a few.

Each of these diets bring a new idea to the table but unless you have incredible will power or seek help at organizations like Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous, they are very difficult to maintain and fail more times than not.  I’m sure if you are very disciplined and can make any of these diets part of your everyday life, they work but I’ve found it is very difficult to stay on any diet for too long even when I can see they are helping me drop a few pounds.

Fresh Healthy Foods Taste Good – Right?

Most of the diets on the market today require the dieter to eat a lot of natural healthy foods.  Whether it is a low-carb diet like Atkins or eating “nutrient-dense foods to satisfy your appetite” like the South Beach Diet, they all depend on your eating delicious, healthy foods and staying away from the junk. I’m sure there is a “junk food” diet out there somewhere, but I have not seen one yet.

Author Mark Schatzker

You may have read my interview with Mark Schatzker right after he published his first book Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef.  Follow the link to read the interview and if you enjoy a good steak or are currently on the Atkin’s diet, be sure to read his book.

What I learned from Mark’s first book is steak is not everything you think it is and the way cows are raised and beef processed is a bit scary. It answered my questions of why it was so difficult to find a great tasting steak at the local supermarket why are the prices so crazy low. Nothing I find at the market today tastes anything remotely as good as the steaks my dad would overcook for us back in the 60’s.

The Dorito Effect

So what is The Dorito Effect and what does it have to do with our current diets and how and what we eat?  Mark suggests in his book that the foods we think of as healthy – fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood – have lost their flavor over the years because of changes in production.

I immediately think of supermarket tomatoes.  I know what a great tasting tomato tastes like and I won’t taste one this year until later in the summer when I can purchase fresh Jersey tomatoes at the market or pick some from my garden. The rest of the year, fresh tomatoes don’t have much flavor at all.  They look and feel like tomatoes but they don’t smell or taste like a homegrown fresh tomatoes.

Same with strawberries. Right now the markets are filled with locally grown strawberries that are incredible. We have some plants in the yard and they are a treat to pick and enjoy for the next few weeks.  And then they are gone. We are back to those monster strawberries from the market that look incredible but lack in flavor when you bite into one. Very disappointing.

Mark suggests in his book that today’s large industrial farmers can produce more beautiful looking fruits and vegetables but they are nutritionally empty and flavorless to boot. It’s sort of like they are creating junk foods out of what once were considered healthy foods.

We Still All Want Flavor

We all still crave flavorful foods. I know I do. So what did the fast food franchises like McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken do back in the 1950’s? They came up with fast foods that were loaded with flavor and fat that satisfied our desires for tasty food.

This was followed up in the 1960’s with the help of food science to create new snack foods like Pringles, Ruffles, Funyuns and Doritos that were full of flavor satisfaction but lacked nutritional integrity.  Do you remember Tang, the fruit drink by General Foods Corp that made it on John Glenn’s Mercury flight around the globe?

By the way, it is worth reading Mark’s book just to learn about the history of the Dorito and how Arch West, a one time Madison avenue ad man who became vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay (think Lay’s potato chip’s “bet you can’t eat just one”) came up with the idea for the Dorito and helped developed the flavor that launched a multi billion dollar a year industry.

It gets better in the 1970’s with the introduction of Eggo waffles or as we called them in our house, “mother’s little breakfast helpers”.  There were even baby foods by Gerber’s of precooked pureed foods with enough sugar and salt to make any little baby’s mouth water for more.

This track has carried on and we now have an even a larger selection of unhealthy snack foods including Smartfood popcorn from 1985 made with “real” cheese…..and 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol and 290 milligrams of sodium in every 1 ounce serving*.  And who can just eat 1 ounce?

And what do we wash all these tasty treats down with? When I was growing up we had Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, RC Cola but now they have these crazy high powered energy drinks like Monster Energy, Jolt and Red Bull with 80mg of caffeine in a single can. I would be bouncing off the walls after drinking one of those.

Back to Mark’s Book

So Mark’s book looks at how many of our diets have switched from a selection of once healthy flavorful foods now turned bland and flavorless to a diet of unhealthy but flavorful junk foods with the help of lab produced flavors. What better way to enhance those flavorless greens and vegetables in your salad than to drown them in very flavorful ranch dressing?

The good news from Mark is there is hope for the future. According to him, scientists are working hard to develop new ways to bring back the big flavors now lost in many of our favorite healthy food products. It just may be possible with some help from the scientific community that our addiction to flavor may become the solution to healthier eating.

Mark’s Marketing YouTube Video

Besides a very entertaining book filled with clever writing to discuss serious topics, check out this marketing YouTube video produced by Mark to sell his book. This is one of the most fun marketing videos I’ve seen in a long time.

A New Interview With Author Mark Schatzker

I’m going to contact Mark with some new questions about his book and invite you to ask any questions you might have in the comments section below. I’ll choose some of the questions to include in my interview. If you are on a diet now or want to know more about the flavor, or lack of flavor, in foods today, here’s your opportunity to connect with a very knowledgeable person and a great guy.

*from the label presented on Wikipedia


Last modified on Fri 5 June 2015 11:04 am

Filed in: Cookbook Reviews

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