The Dorito Effect

The Dorito Effect

The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor

Book - 2015
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A lively and important argument from an award-winning journalist proving that the key to reversing North America's health crisis lies in the overlooked link between nutrition and flavor.

In The Dorito Effect , Mark Schatzker shows us how our approach to the nation's number one public health crisis has gotten it wrong. The epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are not tied to the overabundance of fat or carbs or any other specific nutrient. Instead, we have been led astray by the growing divide between flavor--the tastes we crave--and the underlying nutrition.

Since the late 1940s, we have been slowly leeching flavor out of the food we grow. Those perfectly round, red tomatoes that grace our supermarket aisles today are mostly water, and the big breasted chickens on our dinner plates grow three times faster than they used to, leaving them dry and tasteless. Simultaneously, we have taken great leaps forward in technology, allowing us to produce in the lab the very flavors that are being lost on the farm. Thanks to this largely invisible epidemic, seemingly healthy food is becoming more like junk food: highly craveable but nutritionally empty. We have unknowingly interfered with an ancient chemical language--flavor--that evolved to guide our nutrition, not destroy it.

With in-depth historical and scientific research, The Dorito Effect casts the food crisis in a fascinating new light, weaving an enthralling tale of how we got to this point and where we are headed. We've been telling ourselves that our addiction to flavor is the problem, but it is actually the solution. We are on the cusp of a new revolution in agriculture that will allow us to eat healthier and live longer by enjoying flavor the way nature intended.
Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, 2015, ©2015.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501116131
Branch Call Number: 641. 3 SCH
Characteristics: ix, 259 pages ; 24 cm


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Sep 16, 2018

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was a quick and easy read full of clearly communicated information. For me, it became most interesting at about the halfway point, when it started getting into the science of nutrition and its connection to flavor. It was thought-provoking and I learned a lot. Several of the things covered are those that I've often wondered about myself - and my suspicions are confirmed here, backed up with facts and research.

HCL_staff_reviews Jul 19, 2018

Mark Schatzker is on a quest for flavorful food, but without resorting to Flavor Solutions, the search is looking pretty grim. Without seasoning our chickens taste like 'teddy bear stuffing' and our tomatoes watery, how can we get back to flavor filled foods of the past? I already knew I was a ‘nutritional idiot’ before reading this book, but instead of depressing me, I feel better informed and more ready now to face my food ignorance. Not only is the book an argument against synthetic flavorings, it’s an argument for getting our crops back to the flavor and nutrient rich sources of palate pleasure lost in our quest for quantity over quality. — Lee B., Eden Prairie Library

May 14, 2018

Food doesn’t taste the way it used to is the proposition: it tastes bland. Chickens bred for huge breasts and rapid maturity: bland. Tomatoes bred for rapid growth, thick skin to endure long time on the back of a truck force-fed with synthetic fertilizers: bland. Flour designed to withstand Moldova and disease infestation and to have a long shelf life: bland. Crops grown under irrigation to enhance productivity as opposed to crops that struggle is survive in the arid environment that gave them life: bland. And watery. Bland crops are the by-product of the green revolution that upped yields at the price of taste. Bland crops. Flavour dilution. And that’s what’s given rise to a meg-industry the players of which you and I have probably never heard of.
Schatzker’s book is laced with anecdotes of researchers in the pursuit of more flavourful food. Their experiences are instructive, informative, and sometimes, plum funny.
His quest for flavourful food holds the promise not of tastier food but food that is more nutritious and less likely to overwhelm us under a growing tsunami of obesity.
The Dorito Effect is well worth your reading.

CarleeMcDot Oct 31, 2017

Let me start out by saying that I believe I am a fairly health conscious person. The hubby and I are both vegetarians, we try to eat local when possible, we love the environment, etc. When I saw this book I figured I'd pick it up (even though I had ZERO knowledge about it prior to reserving it at the library). I feel like we are pretty well informed when it comes to the cons about meat-eating (health-wise, environmental problems, etc), but I never thought about the ideas this book brings up... Like when we as a society went to mass producing food we lost the FLAVOR due to dilution. Or how adding "natural" flavor can be the exact same chemicals as "artificial" flavor but done in a different mode. Although they talk frequently about chicken and the issue in that market, it translates to all food. I wouldn't say this totally revolutionized the way I think about food, but it will make me think longer and harder when making choices in the future. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

Mar 01, 2017

A quick but enjoyable book that endeavors to show that due to food additives and breeding techniques that value yield over flavor Humans are not receiving suitable nutrition which causes overeating. The author shows research that indicates animals bodies "know" what nutritional requirements are unmet and that flavor is the biggest indicator for the body to know how to equalize it's requirements. This flavor has been denuded in foods bred for yield and that additives in processed foods are fooling our senses. Well written and well worth reading.

Aug 18, 2015

The writing style is similar to Malcolm Gladwell. Lots of great information to process. I went and bought my own copy as I needed to reread to truly grasp some of these ideas. Hugely insightful, the author strives to educate and inform. Unlike the trendy blogger writing out of emotional ideas, the author has done his research and cites his sources, allowing readers the chance to do follow up further on their own.

Aug 17, 2015

Informative - at times too much so (you can skim read sections without missing the main point). I thought I knew a lot about food science, but this book had me examining labels even more thoroughly. Contains important insights into the destructive changes in our food - and how it is affecting us.

May 24, 2015

May 05, 2015

Well written, well researched and very informative. The author’s writing is superb and hooks the reader throughout with little morsels that make the reader want to read on. For instance, the first line in chapter six is “Are humans nutritional idiots?”

Schatzker packs a lot of information into one book. So much so, this is not a one day read. As a consumer, parent, or just someone who wants to thrive as a human being, this book is a must read.

The author brilliantly uses real stories and real history along with future consequences to support his topic. Food, and its additives, permeates all human beings, and plants and animals. All lives on Earth depend on each other and this Flavor theme is a subject we must all seriously talk about.

As Schatzker says, “This is not because we are lazy or weak. It’s by design.” And he goes into this Flavor design very clearly while not bogging down the reader with incomprehensible medical jargon. The reader is invited to “discover the true nature of our relationship with food and how we’ve manipulated the ornate chemical system that sparks cravings and touches every cell [in] our bodies.”

Schatzker explains why most of us have become food addicts and he give us a “delicious cure”. He argues all the traditional standby explanations. He gives proof and evidence. I am impressed with the level of honest research that has gone into this book. While some authors write around safe theories and probable outcomes, Schatzker states his idea and actually proves it. And it all makes sense to a lay-reader.

What are we doing to ourselves? In the end, is this all for commercial profit? If so, we’re in for a really frightening outcome. The Appendix: How to Live Long and Eat Flavorfully is invaluable.

This book is a must read for all.

-- Tofts Reviews


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May 05, 2015

, “This is not because we are lazy or weak. It’s by design.”

May 05, 2015

“Are humans nutritional idiots?”

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May 05, 2015

lisatofts thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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