Monday, January 25, 2016

Nacho Cheese Non-Stop

     Ever eaten a bag of Doritos? Of course you have, why am I asking. Okay, here's a better question: have you ever been able to eat just one Dorito? 9.99... out 10 people will say no. There's a reason why: Doritos are addictive, and it's not because the nacho cheese and cool ranch is so tasty.
     While Doritos are delicious and I'm not in any way advocating you stop eating them, you do have to understand that Doritos are processed. They come from a lab. A food lab. And they're engineered to make you want to come back for more. Doritos are neither sour nor sweet. They aren't bitter or salty either. It's "umami."
     Umami was generally skipped when I was in elementary school, but it is now classified as an official basic taste, along with sour, sweet, bitter, and salty. Umami is a savory flavor, and according to the experts, Doritos fall into that category. Foods with umami tend to have flavors that hang around for a while. That helps explain the taste of Doritos tend to stay in your mouth so long after you finish the bag.
     One interesting thing about Doritos is that they are made where no one flavor overpowers the other. This is done to create a flavor sensation, and it keeps you from feeling full. This is also done to keep you from getting sick of the snack. Cake is delicious, but after a while all that sweet icing starts to get to you, and you gotta stop. Pretzels become a bore and a chore after a while because of the dominant salt. Also how many lemons could you really eat once? By balancing all the flavors,  they're less likely to overpower, and you're less likely to notice.
     When it comes to the addictiveness of Doritos, you also have two acids to thank: citric acid and lactic acid. These acids make your mouth salivate. You think you can stop the salivation with more snack, so you eat more, but then you salivate more, which causes you to eat more, and so on. Another important quality to Doritos is how the nacho and ranch powder always sticks to your fingers, tongue, and lips. When you finger around a bag of Doritos then lick off all the powder, you end up keeping that flavor in your mouth, which starts the salivate/eat process all over again. This trait gives Doritos an edge that many other chips, such as original Ruffles and Lays do not have. Garlic powder is also added to Doritos, which gives a kick, and three different types of salts are used to help bring out all of this flavor. It really is a flavor festival. A diverse flavor festival. Doritos are the New York City of chips.
     Calories never go unnoticed, but what is contributing these calories tends to. Half of the calories in Doritos come from fat. This gives the flavor in the chips a boost, tricking your brain into thinking you've eating more than you actually have. Ever heard of chips being "empty calories?" There's an actual scientific term for this: vanishing caloric density. Chips are heavily scrutinized mainly for this reason. They truly are bags of empty junk food. Most chips provide no real nutritional value, and because of the vanishing caloric density, you just keep eating more and more of them, and you never really feel full, which doesn't help matters. If the chips' defense, ice cream, candy, and popcorn are guilty of this as well. How else could you eat that entire tub of ice cream while you watch The Bachelorette?
     So you may be asking at this point "is anything in Doritos real?" Well yes, they use real Romano cheese in the chips, and they are made out of real corn. Sure, the nutritional value may be gone, but hey at least it's still real corn. That's all we can ask for is pure, real corn.
     It's hard to put a bag of Doritos down, it really is. You pour just a handful on a napkin because you're health conscious, but fifteen minutes later you're back in the kitchen. Now you know why. It's science. Don't feel ashamed, you're not the only one. If someone says that they can eat one Dorito and not crave anymore, don't trust that person. Whether it's a secret or nuclear launch codes, don't trust that person. It is possible to limit yourself, you just have to have the willpower to say "no." While there's no problem with enjoying these snacks, remember moderation is key. Don't give up Doritos, but don't go to Target and grab six bags unless you're throwing a cookout tomorrow.
     As a bonus, did you know there are clam chowder and shrimp-mayonnaise flavored Doritos? Well now you have another reason to visit Japan. And here's a bonus bonus...courtesy of, you guessed it, Japan.

*How Stuff Works, Thrillist

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