Is Fast Food Killing Our Sense of Taste?
Your sense of taste is being barraged by the loads of salt, fat, and sugar found in double cheeseburgers, waffle fries, and milkshakes.
From Ridiculous to the Sublime
The Sept. 6, 2004, issue of The New Yorker was devoted to stories
and articles rhapsodizing about food and its potentially seductive intricacies.
- "There is damn little contentment in humanity today," said one
organic farmer. "And most of that is because our food has no contentment
- This same farmer brews vats of nutrient "teas" made of crushed
oyster shells, sea salt, volcanic rock, and molasses and sends it through his
irrigation systems. Some days, he sends the plants an infusion of lavender.
"A plant doesn't wear dark glasses or anything," this man is quoted as
saying. "It will just sit there in its nakedness and show you how it's
- In another article, the science of ketchup is painstakingly outlined. Even
this fast food staple contains high science and maddeningly subtle variations
of mouth and nose sensations.
Rejuvenating Your Sense of Taste
According to Witherly, people can break the fast food, smushy,
always-the-same habit. "I don't say get off salt and sugar cold
turkey," he says. "But how about just getting off refined sugar,
sucrose, and especially high-fructose corn syrup? These increase insulin and
lead to fat storage."
Other suggestions to aid your sense of taste:
- Don't give up carbs, but do stick with complex carbs like whole grains and
- Don't be afraid to use artificial sweeteners. They can increase
- Try to cut back on salt. At least don't salt before tasting. Or take the
shaker off the table. In a week to a month, tops, your old level of saltiness
will taste terrible to you.
- Try salt substitutes such as Parmesan cheese, yeast extracts, or soy
- The body craves variety; fast food places don't have enough of it. Some
people know the menu by heart. Try for high-volume foods, like salads, that
fill you up with less calorie density.
- Kick the saturated fat habit. Most commercial fries are sizzled in beef
fat. Stick with olive oil, fish oils, and flax oils. These are less likely,
Witherly says, to be stored as fat in the body.
- And eat slowly. There is even a movement called Slow Food devoted to