Much of The Dorito Effect is based on the premise that technology has improved agriculture in many ways, such as increasing crop yields and producing bigger livestock, but has simultaneously resulted in decreased flavor in food. Without natural flavors, the book says, more synthetic flavors — often accompanied by sugar, salt and fat — need to be added to foods to enhance their taste and enjoyment, resulting in damage to our health.
Schatzker alternates between blaming and revering scientists who have learned how to manipulate human biological and emotional responses to food. While much of the author’s commentary is opinion, one quoted study seems to lend credibility to his argument that not only the taste, but also the nutrient density of plant foods has changed.
After finishing The Dorito Effect, readers may wonder how we can use technology to influence the inherent flavors of whole, fresh foods so that people will enjoy and eat them — instead of being attracted to artificially flavored foods that may not be as good for us.