Most people are a little bit iffy when it comes to healthy food. Why is that, though? Is the stigma of “healthy food taste bad” actually true? Gold’s Gym Investigates!
All things sinful usually are unhealthy, that’s the accepted notion in society. It also applies to the culinary world. Just look at all the foods that your doctor tells you to lay off or even avoid altogether. The oh-so-good junk foods and indulgent sugar-laden desserts, of course they’re bad for us in the long term, no? But people still choose them over the healthier options. This shows that taste matter when it comes to picking food.
Sugar, meat essence, and high level of MSG are the reason behind why everyday food that we like so much taste so good. When we’re used to this kind of taste palate, what happens when we’re served the healthier option instead? Are we going to reject it immediately because we have the notion in mind that healthy food taste bad? Turns out, yes. That notion is so well-spread that most people actually believe it! But is it really true? “Not all healthy food taste bad. Basically if you mix together the right ingredients in the right amount, it’s going to taste good. But the problem is the main ingredients and spices typically used in healthy and nutritious food is a tad more expensive and harder to get,” Amanda, 26, said as someone who has tried a fair share of healthier options in eating joints all over Jakarta.
What makes healthy food taste different in comparison to our everyday food? “Healthy food taste a bit different with the food we’re used to because some of the ingredients used are actually different. In healthy food, they would swap regular white sugar with a low calorie option, eradicate MSG altogether, and avoid using broth made from animal products,” Chef Beno Komarudin, a pastry chef at Kempinski Hotel Jakarta, explained.
Substitution and elimination of certain main ingredients in healthy food does have a noticeable impact on the taste. Amanda agreed to that notion. “The most fundamental difference between healthy food and our daily food is that the healthier option tend to taste bland. The umami taste that we’re used to in everyday food came from MSG, which is not used in healthy cooking. And also healthy food tends not to last long. Healthy food should be eaten immediately, if it gets cold the blander it would taste,“ Amanda stated.
This bland taste is due to the elimination of MSG and sugar on the cooking process. This is more noticeable to us because we’re used to food that has a strong taste profile. “Indonesian people are used to food with strong spices and herbs. For example, Rendang, a braised beef with a lot of herbs and spices, as well as sugar. Not exactly an example of something healthy. But it’s undeniable that Indonesian people like food like that. Our taste palate is developed since we’re little, so if we’re mostly exposed to these kinds of taste profile, we’re bound to get used to it, make that taste profile a standard. “If we want to eat healthier, we have to eliminate MSG and sugar from our daily diet,” a general practitioner, dr. Samuel Oetoro said.
To make healthy cooking taste as good as our daily food, Chef Beno offers a trick of his own. “ We just need to know the right substituting ingredients that we can find in markets, like sugar free chocolate, gluten free flour, and diabetic sugar. We also have to find a way in cooking the ingredient so that it won’t lose its flavor. So, healthy food need not be unpalatable,” Chef Beno explained.
So, still iffy about healthier options? Who said healthy food doesn’t taste good!
First published at www.fimela.com, translated and edited by Gold's Gym Indonesia