Myth Buster #4: Healthy Food Is Not Tasty

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I commonly hear that healthy food is boring, lacks taste, is no fun, and is not tasty. I completely disagree. But I also totally understand why people think that healthy food does not taste good.

The reason that junk food including sugar, flour, and transfats taste so insanely good is because they hit the dopamine pleasure button in our brain like a drug.

The man-made foods that we have invented in the last fifty years are able to trick our brains and are taking massive tolls on our health.

Part of our human evolution has been our ability to remember and track where we found food sources.

When we hunted and gathered, a berry bush was something that our brain noted as important and therefore remembered its location. They were a rare seasonal treat.

Then we humans figured out how to cultivate and how to juice berries. The juice of berries has far more glucose and provides a bigger dopamine hit for our brains which makes our brains think that the juice is more important than the berries.

Then we humans figured out how to package berry juice and give it a shelf life with preservatives and we added sugar. This dopamine hit is even larger and far more important to our brain than the berries.

One downside is that the insanely tasty berry juice has a big impact on our insulin levels.

Another downside is the added sugar has no health benefit to our body and in fact feeds all the yeasts, bacteria, and diseases including cancers in our bodies.

But our brain continuously remembers where the sugar is and urges us to go get more.

What used to be a useful berry reminder is now a health risk when it comes to juice with added sugars.

Our brain and body do not regulate on their own.

If you are someone accustomed to drinking drinks with sugar then your taste buds and brain are hooked.

Getting un-hooked can be a bit of a challenge.

There is even a possibility of sugar withdrawal similar to alcohol withdraw.

What happens during ‘the un-hook’ is a downregulating of dopamine in our brains.

The juice with added sugar tastes amazing at a score of 10, on a scale of 1 to 10.

The berries off the bush score a 5.

But the berries off the bush are the food source that will serve our long term health by providing stable insulin and antioxidants.

But to feel the pleasure of a berry we must down-regulate off the drug-like sugars.

And the benefit of investing in the whole-food natural-pleasures, like berries, has a far-reaching life-long source of pleasure known as health aka delayed gratification.

The trick to making these food changes is in understanding our brain, it’s default tendencies, and using our ability to think about our own future as the motivation for our choices to retrain what we define as tasty.

I know and remember the intense tasty zing of consuming sugars; even the ‘health food’ stores carry items labeled healthy but contain processed sugars.

I know the sensation of feeling hooked with my mind seeking where I will get my next sugar fix.

To break the cycle it takes a solid amount of attention to make the change and to down regulate off of the big dopamine hit of sugar.

The short term reward is that a bowl full of berries becomes tasty.

And the long term reward is that my skin is clear, my hormones are balanced, my weight is stable, and most important to me is that my mood is solid.

Same for my little one; she does not have sugary ups and downs nor does she have fits of demanding sugary foods.

In fact, being a mom has made me even more solid in my sugar choice. From everything I have studied about gut health, cutting our sugar is a big factor in healing the gut.

Kids’ digestive tracks are forming. I want her to have the best shot in life, like any parent. So, no sugar is one of the best things that I can do for the foundation building phase of her digestion and overall health.

ps. Our little one often does a happy food dance when a bowl full of tasty berries hit the table.

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