Food tastes better when you’re fit.
That’s interesting. “I think food tastes great already!”, you might say. What i’m trying to highlight is a little more complex than that though. What I want to talk about is how and why good, nutritious food starts to taste better as you start to become more fit.
It’s a really interesting subject for me, because (like far too many american children nowadays) I was practically raised on whatever I felt like eating. Waffles with chocolate syrup and whipped cream for dinner was a staple in my household growing up…..and the nutrition of what we ate never even crossed mine or my parents minds.
The result of this kind of eating was:
- I HATED the taste of vegetables with a passion. Not just vegetables, but salads, fruits, and just generally whole foods tasted really bland to me
- I was a pudgy kid 😔
“Healthy Food Is Gross!”
I always wondered “how do people stomach eating broccoli?! The stuff is so nasty.” I remember trying my hardest to choke it down when I went over to friends houses who seemed to eat much better. The issue of feeling like “healthy” foods also tend to be the foods that taste the worst arises largely because:
Our diet as Americans is bad. Really bad. Like average-american-consumes-800g-of-sugar-a-week-bad. When everything you eat is loaded with sugar, of course things that have none (or even smaller amounts of it, like whole fruit) won’t taste as good.
Seems funny that “the fit sugar junkie” would demonize sugar….and despite my love for sugar, it really IS a detriment. I’m all for pigging out once in a while, but it really does need to be consumed in moderation.
So how does getting fitter make healthy food taste better?
Simple, really. Naturally, actually getting fitter requires a few things:
- MORE whole, nutritious foods and LESS calorie dense, nutrient void junk food
- MORE exercise and typically a lowering body fat percentage
The net result of these two things is that your body (and taste buds) start to adapt and you start to appreciate the taste of real food increasingly more. I’ve personally gone from hating the thought of eating a plate of vegetables to absolutely LOVING some grilled mushrooms, asparagus, and broccoli to go along with my chicken.
So why does this happen? What changes happen that “make” healthy food taste better?
Unfortunately, I think the scientific information here is a bit lacking. However, I have a few theories on why this occurs:
Your body becomes better at managing insulin on a healthier diet, generally leading to a feeling of being more “satisfied” from healthier foods
When foods aren’t DOUSED in sugar and 30 extra ingredients, it gets MUCH easier to detect and appreciate their natural taste. As an example, try going for 30 days with minimal/no sugar. On day 31, eat a candy bar. I bet it’ll taste MUCH sweeter to you than you remember
The more you do something, the easier it becomes psychologically. If you eat vegetables every night for a year, i seriously doubt you’ll loathe the thought of them on day 1 year 2
My main takeaway here is that our desire to reject healthy foods and eat junk foods (and I use both of these terms lightly….I think there is a lot of gray area on what constitutes “healthy” and “junk”) is fueled by societal norms.
However, as time goes by and your diet and fitness starts to improve, I think you’ll start finding healthier foods tasting better and better. Stay tuned for more information on strategies for making healthy food taste better!