Good food is a source of pleasure for most of us. We all have that one favorite dish that makes us feel satisfied and happy. But have you ever wondered why we crave certain foods more than others? Food scientists have been studying the science behind our cravings for decades, and they have come up with a term called the "bliss point."
The bliss point is the perfect combination of sugar, salt, and fat that makes us crave more of a certain food. It's the point where our taste buds are satisfied, and we feel happy and content. Food scientist Howard Moskowitz was the first to coin the term bliss point. Moskowitz explained that the bliss point is the point at which the sugar, salt, and fat content of a food are in perfect balance to create the maximum pleasure for our taste buds.
For food scientists, bakers, and chefs, the bliss point is the holy grail. They spend countless hours experimenting with different combinations of sugar, salt, and fat to create the perfect balance that will hit the bliss point for consumers. It's no surprise that the food industry invests millions of dollars in research and development to create products that hit the bliss point and keep customers coming back for more.
But hitting the bliss point isn't just about satisfying our taste buds. It's also about the reward center of our brain. Our brains are hard-wired to crave foods that are high in fat and carbohydrates. When we eat foods that hit the bliss point, our brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. This is why we keep going back for more. It's not just the taste; it's the feeling that comes with it.
However, hitting the bliss point can also have negative consequences. When we eat foods regularly that hit the bliss point, it can disrupt the signals that our brain sends to our body when we're full. Over time, we can become desensitized to the dopamine rush from these foods, and we need to eat more and more to get the same satisfaction. This can lead to overeating and poor nutritional choices.
But is the bliss point all bad? Not necessarily. There's nothing inherently wrong with enjoying the pleasure that comes from eating tasty foods. In fact, food is meant to be enjoyed. It's part of our cultural heritage, and it brings us together as a community. Food is also an important source of nutrients that our bodies need to function properly.
If you want to enjoy your food without getting hooked on the bliss point, try embracing new flavors. Most processed foods are just loaded with refined sugar and salt, but we forget about other delicious tastes like sour, bitter, and umami. These three flavors can make you feel fuller without relying on refined sugar or salt. Spruce up your meat or veggies with new-to-you low-sugar ingredients, rich tasting natural sweeteners and umami-rich flavors like pickled veggies, mushrooms, miso, low-sodium soy sauce, and hard-aged cheeses. You'll find that your junk food cravings will start to fall off over time!
Like anything, the key is to enjoy food in moderation. It's okay to indulge in your favorite treats every once in a while, but it's important to make sure that the majority of your diet is made up of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. Date sugar and date syrup are a great way to enjoy sweetness and add umami to your foods while still remaining nutritionally balanced. By focusing on whole, minimally processed foods and natural sweeteners, you can ensure that you're getting the nutrients your body needs without overindulging in foods that hit the bliss point.
Finally, we must be advocates for ourselves and our health. We can't rely on the taste of food alone to dictate healthy choices. We need to take responsibility for our own health, make informed decisions about the foods we eat, and also allow ourselves to enjoy food fully. By being aware of the bliss point and the way it works in our brains, we can make healthier choices that are also satisfying and comforting. Ready to learn more about adopting a low-sugar lifestyle? You may enjoy these articles: “Say Goodbye to Sugar Cravings: Just 10 Days for Your Taste Buds to Reset” and “5 Surprising Benefits of Living a Low-Sugar Life”
Bourassa, Nancy. "Why Some Foods May Be More Addictive Than Others." CNN, Cable News Network, 19 Mar. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/03/19/health/bliss-point-addictive-food/index.html.
Kubala, Jillian. "Get Your Vitamin P: Why Pleasure Matters When It Comes to What You Eat." Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Oct. 2019, www.healthline.com/nutrition/get-your-vitamin-p-why-pleasure-matters-when-it-comes-to-what-you-eat.
Kounang, N. (2019, March 19). What makes food addictive? The science behind why we can't stop eating certain foods. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/19/health/bliss-point-addictive-food/index.html