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The reason why healthy things taste bad

by causalset
Tags: healthy, taste, things
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Jan6-13, 05:08 AM
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There appear to be more recent scandinavian studies that reject a link between hTAS2R38 and dietry aversions.
Jan6-13, 07:35 AM
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Quote Quote by D H View Post
That is a nonsense comparison. The rest of your post fails because you are reasoning from nonsense.

There's a simple explanation for why some people are attracted to foods that we now deem to be unhealthy. Such cravings for supposedly unhealthy foods were not always unhealthy. They were a local optimum that maximized the likelihood to bear children and have those children live long enough to have children of their own.

The ability to eat an optimal diet is very, very recent. An optimal diet is a luxury. We have not had enough time to evolve tastes that are aligned with this luxury. Our forbears instead had to live in a world where the diet was highly suboptimal, marked with occasional spates of severe shortages of food. The best way to live through those shortages was to put on weight before they hit. The best way to do that: carbs. We crave sugar because they helped our forbears survive. This was particularly so with hunter-gatherers living in marginal areas, and still is. Peoples from such backgrounds who are suddenly thrust into the modern world have significant problems with obesity.
Very good, and I wanted to post something along the same lines, but pithier: We're now trying to live far longer than Nature "intended".
Jan6-13, 10:24 AM
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I haven't read much of this thread, but the reason things like vegetables and fruit taste "bad" is simply because they're much harder to prepare properly to make them taste good. Salads can taste bad if you use terrible breeds of lettuce like tasteless iceberg lettuce.

In North America, we demand things like tomatoes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables all year round, even if they aren't in season. When you buy fruits and vegetables that are not in season, they almost always come from places like Mexico, Chile, or other places that are 1000s of miles away and are picked and shipped while they are completely unripe. The vast majority of berries you buy in the store are horrible tasting--tart with little or no flavor. Many consumers don't even know what a good tasting tomato tastes like because they're limited to only a few breeds at the vast majority of stores because tomatoes that are commercially grown are bred to "look nice" and retain lots of water to prevent them from bruising easily--all properties that make them taste flavorless.

If people would just educate themselves on food, where it comes from, the vast, vast amount of other choices and breeds that are available that often taste much better than their commercially grown counterparts, I'd bet more people would eat fruits and vegetables. It also takes more effort to cook vegetables properly in order to make them taste good, and you can easily over cook veggies if you let them cook a minute too long. It takes practice and education.
Jan6-13, 11:52 AM
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Quote Quote by gravenewworld View Post
In North America, we demand things like tomatoes, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables all year round, even if they aren't in season. When you buy fruits and vegetables that are not in season, they almost always come from places like Mexico, Chile, or other places that are 1000s of miles away and are picked and shipped while they are completely unripe.
I agree, especially WRT tomatoes. The ones from the store taste flat and horrible. I don't eat tomatoes in the off-season, because they don't taste like vine-ripened tomatoes from my garden. Most other produce falls into a similar category.

We still have enough home-grown hardneck garlic to get us through until next season. Garlic is pretty tolerant of storage and shipping, but the varieties available at the store just don't cut it.
Jan6-13, 12:15 PM
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It's like god is giving us a big middle finger ''eat these Brussels sprouts, they just aren't going to taste good, but don't eat these cookies even if they are delicious''!
Jan6-13, 07:36 PM
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I love the taste of fresh, unadulterated vegetables. Give me a plate of salad with the slightest hint of vinegar and some cracked pepper and I'm in heaven!

I have a bit of a sweet tooth though, and it's hard to explain why because it doesn't take much chocolate to make me feel nauseous.
jim mcnamara
Jan6-13, 09:02 PM
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Baby's food preferences may be established by mother's food choices while the baby is in the womb.

This probably accounts for some of the perceptions posters have related in this thread.

One of the hypotheses mentioned is that it may well be adaptive for a small child to learn to like to eat available food, before coming into the world. And tasting mother's food choices in the womb will expose the baby to foodstuffs it will most likely encounter.
Jan9-13, 09:22 PM
P: 70
Quote Quote by causalset View Post
Have you ever wondered why what tastes good is often not healthy despite the fact that from evolutionary point of view the whole purpose of taste is to get you to eat what is healthy? I found an interesting explanation that probably none of you have thought of. On a grand scheme of things, what tastes better IS healthier:
Are people not getting a little ridiculous about this question? I might be wrong but...

Like you said things that tasted bad we avoided and things that tasted good were generally healthy.. obvious evolutionary link there. So as an example case, we develop a sweet tooth because people that ate a lot of fruit were well nourished and more likely to survive. What do most "unhealthy foods" (in a normal day to day food sense i.e. not dirt) have in common is that they're all processed. We developed a liking for sweet things because the sweetest thing in nature was fruit... now it's skittles and haribo, people realised we like sweet things so made sweeter things to sell to us that happen to be less nutritious (as one example)... then obviously socialisation and marketing play a massive part in what we actually eat, pretty sure we have not evolutionary basis for liking fried breaded chicken over normal chicken, but KFC spend a lot more money on their marketing than the plain chicken company.
Jan22-13, 07:27 PM
P: 27
Our ancestors didn't use "good for you" as a qualification, they didn't know it was good for you, they had never heard of vitamins or proteins. Given this it is not a qualifier in an evolutionary sense.

If you logic were correct shouldn't evolution select so that our tastes change from "unhealthy" things to "healthy" ones.

I agree with points 1, 2, 6, and 7. The rest are poor logic, although if I ever taught a logic course I would love to use this logic as something that could be used for critiques considering the flaws are not immediately obvious.

Another fact you are missing is that to a boy in the Congo surrounded by Jungle (consider our ancestors too) a chocolate cookie could be much more valuable in the sense of their survival than salad, it is all a matter of what materials are deficient and what you have a glut of. A man who sits inside with pasty white skin at a computer all day may benefit from eating egg yolk or fish to get their Vitamin D, a malnourished child in the forest would benefit much more from a fatty sugary Chocolate chip Cookie. And that is the facts about everything. Our ancestors for several million years had lots of vegetables and leaves growing in the rainforest around them, they wanted fats and sugars and you know what is condensed fat and sugar? A cookie, and it tastes really good.

If humans had evolved in a desert where it rained fat and processed sugar I'm sure we would probably love the taste of vegetables and hate that terrible stuff, but as it turns out we are descendants of other primates that lived in the trees surrounded by woods and that shaped our tastes. Given a couple million years of heart disease we might even evolve new tastes, but for now and probably for our realistic future (heart disease is not going to exist forever if science continues for several more decades/centuries) that is not what we will experience.

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