Why Does Healthy Food Taste Bad? The Real Answer.

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A rather common gripe people have when it comes to eating a clean diet is “but healthy tastes so bland/bad”.

I hear where they’re coming from, but they have it the other way round – healthy food doesn’t have bland taste, it’s that their tongues have dulled.

When you eat unhealthy foods, especially factory-made foods, you’re eating a lot of salt, sugar, artificial flavors, and sweeteners.

Let’s take a simple bag of potato chips. It contains potatoes, vegetable oil, and a bunch of salt at a minimum. And if you’re eating one of those flavored bags of chips – add in a bunch of extra-strong artificial flavoring and enhanced spices.

Ingredient's list for potato chips
This is the ingredients list of Lay’s, for their popular flavor “India’s Magic Masala.”

All of the salt and spices and the artificial flavor is so strong that it dulls your taste buds to the point that once you start eating them regularly, “normal food” becomes almost tasteless to you.

Manufactured food is not made to improve your health, it’s designed to give you pleasure. All companies who sell fast food, be it your burger chains, pizza chains, cake manufacturers, bread manufacturer, etc. – all of them hire scientists and food engineers whose jobs are to make their products taste stronger and better.

They develop artificial flavoring that is too strong for your tongue and brain to handle, literally to the point that it’s extremely addictive and physically dulls the taste buds.

Sweet food is extra sweet (usually a combination of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and/or high fructose corn syrup) and spicy food is extra spicy (take a moment to note the ‘waves’ of spiciness as they run through your tongue the next time you eat them).

You become so used to the triple extra spicy taste that soon regular spicy taste seems tasteless (so how do you expect to enjoy ‘ordinary’ food?).

You bite that extra floured potato chip, perfectly fried in a well-researched combination of edible oils and coated with perfect, scientifically engineered layers of artificial flavor and strengthened spices, and your tongue is hit with so much taste that it can no longer taste the subtle flavors of regular potatoes and cabbage for a while.

This is why everything tastes “bland” when you’re used to eating these fake but extra strong flavors.

These substances taste so strong that you physically become addicted to them. When you try to cut them out, you’ll find that you’ll have cravings, especially if you’ve been eating them on the regular. With such a massive amount of taste per bite, your brain releases so much dopamine that you become physically addicted to fast food the same way people become addicted to alcohol and drugs (more on that in another article).

How to Make Healthy Food Taste Good

If you’re one of those people who think healthy food is tasteless, it’s because you’ve dulled your tongue, and if you ever hope to enjoy natural foods again, you’re going to need to give your tongue some time to recover.

Give it 30 days (or at minimum one week) of no artificial foods to see the difference. This means that for the next 30 days, you’re going to have:

  • No Sugar (I mean refined sugar. You can consume natural sugars, such as fruit.)
  • Nothing with High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Nothing with artificial flavoring (this includes soft drinks, sauces, condiments, instant noodles, etc.)
  • Nothing with artificial sweeteners (exception for whey protein)
  • Nothing with excessive quantities of salt (there go your potato chips and french fries)

If you find healthy foods to be dull, I can virtually assure you that you’re addicted to artificial sweetness and flavor, so you might not be able to go 30 days without getting your fix (which should be alarming in itself), but even if you even manage to go just 1 week without them, you’ll find that real food like fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, meat, etc. are much tastier than before. In fact, they taste great!

(If you find it too challenging to resist packaged food, stop buying them. You can’t eat it if it’s not in the fridge when you feel hungry.)

In a month, your tongue will have recovered enough for you to be able to enjoy natural foods again. And yeah, once you complete the 30 days, continue to avoid these foods as much as you can, because even one meal of these ultra flavored packaged foods can dull your taste buds for a few days.

Hope this helps.

– Harsh Strongman

P.S. Consider going all the way and taking up Live Intentionally: Discipline, Mindset, Direction – 90 Day Self-Project. It’ll not only help you get rid of a bunch of scientifically engineered addictions and boost your physical fitness, but will also improve your emotional control, self-understanding, and mindset. I also throw in a guide to fat loss inside to help you drop the extra weight.

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