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Food Taste at a Cost

Why doesn’t my food ever taste as good as that of my favorite restaurants? Why are my favorite grain bowls much heavier than the ones I make with the same ingredients at home? There is a science to this deceiving food taste, and it’s important for us to understand.

Our Taste Buds

To serve a successful dish, it’s crucial to have the right balance of the following things:

  • greasiness
  • acidity
  • salinity
  • sweetness
  • texture

The crunchy toast with the mushy avocado and the imported sea salt is a winner for obvious reasons. Even if you don’t like avocado toast, you might like your Croque Madame, Eggs Benedict, or Overnight Oats.

To pack enough of one, you must balance it with the other. So, you have to add a lot more sugar to offset the bitterness of cocoa.

You need a lot of salt to make fat palatable, but the more fat you put in, the more filling the dish will be.

Since proteins and vegetables are too expensive, it’s essential to balance out the fats, salts, sugar, and acidity to make the customer walk away happy.

Greasy Unhealthy Food

I just polished off a delicious bowl from my favorite restaurant Superba Food. Some of the brown rice fell on my pants, and man, the amount of oil left behind made me wonder if I had knocked over the olive oil bottle.

Oil tastes great and is filling. But you need lots of salt, or it’ll just sit in your stomach and around your tongue.

The thing is, the salt gets masked by the acidity, heat, and greasiness of the food. It’s easy to consume 3-4x the amount of salt in a dish without even tasting much salt.

Salty Food

It’s not only the fatty stuff, but it’s the spicy stuff, too. The winning combinations that have you coming back for more are often salt-packed.

A good way to tell if you have too much salt is how much water you need to drink after. Also, the dryness of your mouth and eyes.

The next morning, you might wake up with finger and hand stiffness and puffiness in the feet. This is much more pronounced if you carry extra weight or chugged a lot of water after your salt feast.

Sweet Food

Oats and flour are generally bitter. They need a healthy dose of sugar to make them the right amount of unhealthy. So, it’s not always the chef’s fault that you consume a lot more sugar in your dine-out meals.

My oatmeal at home is never as creamy or sweet as I get outside.

Eating a sugar bomb of food, especially spicy sweet and sour sauces, can wreak havoc on blood sugar.

Limit Eating Out

The only solution I’ve found to avoiding unhealthy food is to limit eating out. It’s okay to eat out occasionally, and you’ll know that frequency based on your risk factors for the common chronic diseases caused by our diets.

Some restaurants will serve bland food but honestly, what’s the point? I don’t enjoy those dishes. I’d rather make my own bowl, and at least I can drizzle the olive oil and salt on top to get the flavors I want directly into my tongue as quickly as possible.

Certain foods are safer, and you’ll figure that out. It’s important to train your taste buds on the deceiving food tastes out there.

If something feels really filling, it likely wasn’t all that healthy unless you had a tub of it.

Eat Less of the Bad Stuff

If you can eat something healthy at home or fill up on the good stuff at the restaurant then you can still indulge in something heavier as long as it’s not a large proportion of it.

Hinger, of course, is in full effect once you sit down and smell the food. Having a game plan can help curb hunger cravings.

Many other countries use the trick of choosing a smaller portion size of something bad to avoid lifestyle diseases. Smaller portions of pizza and burgers are much, much better than our American sizes.

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