Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Didn't like the taste, but it became a habit anyway

Do you remember when you first tasted beer? For me it was in the senior years in high school. Went to a party with a bunch of classmates at the house of the local tough guy, Scott. Opened a can and took a swig trying to look nonchalant. Hated the taste, tried to not let it show, struggled through half a can, before Scott shot a BB pistol down towards the hallway. The bullet (abut it was plastic) and nearly took out Brendon's head. Thus I found an excuses to pop out on liquor run with Lance a sober driver. When I came back they had spiked the can with rum and it tasted even worse.

The interesting thing is that I now really enjoy a beer. The local supermarket put beer from broken or damaged cartons etc on sale individually. Which is great as I get to try a whole range of different beers without having to purchase large amounts. I also dabble with brewing my own beer.... I will post of this another day.

So somewhere I went from not enjoying the taste at all, to really enjoying it. You are likely to have similar stories were something you didn't like decades ago, you know take for granted.

Stumbled across a interesting article from 1990. It was looking at consumer preference between sugars and artificial sweeteners. In the introduction it talked about a study done in 1984 comparing sugar with aspartame and saccharin that concluded that:
There was no completely acceptable low calorie substitute for sucrose [sugar] available to consumers
And the 1990 study went on to agreeing with this statement, the conclusions for the 1990 study stated:
Sucrose was significantly preferred over aspartame and acesulfame K. Women showed more discriminant preference than men, preferring sucrose over aspartame and acesulfame k in all four foods.
So let us recap, in eighties people didn't like artificial sweeteners, in the early 90's they still didn't like artificial sweeteners. However walking down the supermarket isles product after product has artificial sweeteners contained on the ingredient list. Furthermore Looking at what people around me drink, they more often than not are drinking a produce with artificial sweeteners.

How did we get from disliking artificial sweeteners 20 years ago to them being main stream today? Well the last sentence of the study was eerily prophetic when it asked this question:
Would a switch from one sweetener to another in a subject's diet cause a shift in his/her preferences?
Yes would be my answer. Many people have switched to artificial sweeteners and now prefer the taste of the artificial over sugar. How did this happen - marketing. Marketing changed peoples perceptions, which changes habits and these habits now trap people in unhealthy lifestyles.
So remember just has you might have learned to like artificial sweeteners you can unlearn it. And if you don't like artificial sweeteners, remember this story when you are making a positive change in your diet. You can learn over time to enjoy the taste of new food(s) and the new ways of preparing them. And in 20 years you will struggle to remember when you didn't like that food, or that habit.

Reference: Hossenloppa, Tournierb, Tharraulta and Palagosc Preferences for foods sweetened with sucrose, aspartame or acesulfame K. Food Quality and Preference Vol2 pg 63 1990

PS I will save my rant against artificial sweeteners for another day. Let me just say I would prefer to have diabetes than cancer.

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