Maybe it's not just hyperpalatable food but also hypopalatable produce?

by (3752)
Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 20, 2012 at 4:37 AM

It occurs to me that much Paleo literature has focused on hyperpalatable foods as one driver of obesity but I was shopping earlier this week and noticed that compared to the farmer's market produce I used to buy, the supermarket is kind of gross. Fresh fruit from farms never seems to look like what you find in the supermarket. It [the supermarket produce] often has a tougher flesh and is either uniformly tasteless or freakishly sweet and typically of different sizes than what you'd find growing wild or even at a small local farm. Cucumber is hardly recognizable, as are tomatoes and leafy greens, especially the packaged varieties. I wonder if we're also just discouraged about eating the most natural food we have available now. What do you all think?

3979 · December 20, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I think you have a great point, balor123. If all our fruits and veggies were wild, it might be much more interesting, taste-wise.

7275 · December 20, 2012 at 4:40 AM

I would guess that the lack of micronutrients in produce (linked to their lack of flavor) would make us desire more food.

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1925 · December 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Not sure if I've misread what you're saying here... but this is how I see it:

Supermarkets are focused on mass-production of, quite often, genetically modified produce to bring to market a uniform product. We've lost touch with what REAL food actually looks like.... waxed apples that shine, polished eggplants & tomatoes that are blemish-free, and lettuce that has been sprayed with copious amounts of chemicals to extend shelf life... yep, supermarkets sure know how to sell if you're shopping for visual appeal.

I for one prefer my imperfect, maybe slightly 'retarded' looking little cucumbers and fresh apples with the more natural 'matte' finish. I shop for nutrients when it comes to food.

11204 · December 20, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Is a good steak palatable, hyperpalatable, superpalatable, uberpalatable, or what? It tastes good, yet it doesn't cause me to get fat. I believe adding prefixes to the word palatable has not led to an increase in understanding of the world. Seth Roberts explained what seemed to be the crucial bits as a signal; that is, modern processed foods provide a very specific taste, which functions as a signal or signature- and a very dependable payoff- calories. Such a dependable signal encourages weight gain. There is enough variation in steak (as well as cooking processes) for the payoff and the signal to be different from time to time. There is not a particularly good explanation, though, from the people throwing around the hyperpalatable tag. It would seems steak must be hyperpalatable because it tastes really good, yet it doesn't make me fat, so to label it hyperpalatable would defeat the purpose of having that label- the whole point of the label is to be able to put all the foods that make you fat in a group that doesn't begin with the letter C.

Nor does this hyperpalatability thing explain people addicted to straight starch (which tastes very bland) or one of my relatives, who manages to be quite heavy while eating about five extremely boring foods. I can't see how people can get fat eating modern American chicken breast, unless the rumors are true and there are actually steroids in it, because it tastes like cardboard. Certainly, the modern American vegetable is pretty tasteless as well, but I regard that as somewhat beside the point, because we have never gotten the bulk of our calories from cucumbers. Vegetables are a nice addition to the main course.

26207 · December 20, 2012 at 12:46 PM

I don't know where you shop. But most of the stores in my area, even the big chains like Giant and Safeway, have local produce. I live in DC, and the vast majority of our produce comes from NY, NJ, PA, MD, VA with some citrus or fruit from GA, FL. Now winter time it's different, and I do see a degraded quality in the winter.

And I do prefer the farmers maker, even better I love our CSA, and better than that -- our CSA lets us go do the picking! Fresher is always better. But I would disagree that all supermarket vegetables are completely tasteless or unrecognizable.

Maybe you need to find a new store...

2411 · December 20, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Supermarket chains are archetypal, industrial capitalist enterprises. So, commerical produce is bred to maximize the traits they find most profitable: longevity and aesthetic appeal.

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