couple eating a healthy mean

Is good tasting food unhealthy?

Every time you reach for something deliciously tasty to eat, a small part of you feels guilty and whispers those words you don’t want to hear. Most people think that when you eat something tasty, it can’t be good for you and most likely you are going to gain a ton of weight. Common perception is, that if food tastes good then it has to be unhealthy for you.

But we are so wrong to think that.

New research coming out of Monell Centre, Philadelphia,  suggests that good tasting food does not lead to obesity and weight gain.  In fact, good taste determines what we choose to eat, but not how much we eat over a long period of time.

A series of experiments were conducted to determine if taste drives people to over-eat and gain weight.

Researchers who study obesity have long known that feeding laboratory mice tasty human food like chocolate cookies, condensed milk and potato chips over a period of time, has made them obese.

These studies have validated that good tasting food is the cause of weight gain through over eating. However, no study has been able to separate the good taste of food from the high fat and high sugar content, to determine if it is taste that drives overeating.

To examine the role of taste in obesity, the researchers of this study, conducted their experiments on mice. They first established that the mice liked food with added non-nutritive sweet and oily taste. They separated mice in two groups and gave them two cups of food to choose from:

Group 1: Choice between a cup of plain rodent chow or a cup of chow mixed with non-caloric sweetener sucralose.

Group 2: Choice between cup of plain rodent chow or a cup of chow mixed with mineral oils which has no calories.

The mice ignored plain rodent chow and ate most of the other cups containing the sweetener and mineral oil establishing that the mice found these tastes very appealing.

A new group of mice were then divided into three groups and received these diets for six weeks:

Group 1: Plain rodent chow

Group 2: Chow with added sucralose

Group 3: Chow with added mineral oil

After the end of the six weeks, the mice that ate sweetened or oily chow were no fatter than the ones that ate plain chow. Even after another six weeks, the mice preferred the tastier version of their meal rather than plain chow.

In another experiment, mice were then fed a high fat diet known to make mice obese. The mice that ate this high fat diet sweetened with added sucralose got no fatter than the ones that ate the plain version.

The researchers concluded that good tasting food is not bad for you and it is not taste which will drives you to overeat.

In fact is it possible to make food which is tasty and healthy at the same time.

Eating food should be an enjoyable experience. With a little planning and preparation, you can find recipes which will help you create some delicious healthy meals. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a tasteless experience. Just ask the mice!

Source: Physiology and Behaviour


Meena Azzollini

Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!

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