Book Review — The Dortio Effect


Have you ever wondered why one Dorito chips always leads to another, then another and another? I don’t know about you, but once I start I usually cannot seem to get enough or stop eating them. Inevitably, my digestive system feels like crap afterwards. So, why do I keep eating them when I know how I will feel afterwards? Could it be something in the chip? Could the food manufacturer be using a chemical to entice my tastebuds and short-circuit my wiring of what is healthy and good?

Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, explores why you might be and then how the “dorito effect” has influenced other foods you purchase from strawberries to chickens to tomatoes. [1]   The title of this work didn’t draw me to read it.  However, after listening to Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness’s interview with Mark Schatzker, I had to grab a copy of this book.

I first listened to this great read on Amazon’s Audible. Then I had to invest in a paper copy, so I could highlight all the intriguing information I had gleaned. Okay, there is a lot of yellow highlighting, for sure!

THE PROBLEM: Bland food needs flavour boosters, right?

“The Dorito Effect, very simply, is what happens when food gets blander and flavor technology gets better.” [1] Truly, how your food tastes is what drives you to eat it. Just look at all the cookbooks burgeoning on the bookshelves of bookstores like Chapters. For that matter, I own way too many cookbooks — all trying to entice me to enjoy the flavours I put together and share with my family.

“The food crisis we’re spending so much time and money on might be better thought of as a large-scale flavor disorder. Our problem isn’t calories and what our bodies do with them. Our problem is that we want to eat the wrong food. The longer we ignore flavor, the longer we are bound to be victims of it.” [2]

Tweetable: Junk food is “food that tastes like something it is not,” Mark Schatzker Tweet!

Flavour is what draws you to food in the first place, right?  In fact, Schatzker’s theory suggests that you might be overeating low-quality and bland tasting food because you aren’t nourishing your body and your body may be “looking” for missing nutrients.  Novel idea, for sure.  He has put voice to an idea I have mulled around in my brain for a while.  Schatzker says, “In nature, flavors all take you to different nutritional destinations.” [3]  “For decades, we have been gently but steadily nudging up food’s caloric dose and dressing it up in chemicals that make it seem real and nutritious.” [4]  In food industry’s attempt to make bland food taste great,  they “spray, squirt, and inject hundreds of millions of pounds of those chemicals on food every year, and then we [the consumer] find ourselves surprised and alarmed that people keep eating.” [5]  That is eating ourselves into the second leading cause of preventable death — obesity.  Wow!  That’s right, obesity is a preventable disease, but those changes start with making different choices, better choices, more flavourful choices.

I use to ask myself, why do I “like” Jenny Craig’s frozen foods instead of cooking my own food — simply put, they were tasty and easy to make.  Really?  But I like to cook.  Such a disconnect. Unfortunately, my desire for this type of food undermined my health and left me with autoimmune tendencies, fatigue, and burned out adrenals.  Okay, my lifestyle played into it too.  I was trying to avoid obesity and hypertension by losing weight, but instead I created disease — multiple food intolerances, dysglycemia and yo-yo weight loss/gain.

SOLUTION: Our bodies crave flavour and nutrition, so where do you go?

I don’t know how many times I have bitten into a big red strawberry, only to be disappointed.  Juicy, yes.  Flavour, none.  Now, I choose to grow my own, buy from farmers markets , or eat them in season.

I remember when our family first switched to organic chicken from a reputable farmer.  My husband, who grew up on a beef ranch, couldn’t see how that expensive small chicken was going to feed our family of 4 teenage boys.  Well, the boys devoured the chicken, but not because they didn’t get enough, but because it tasted amazing.  They ate less than what they would of a conventional chicken and they were satisfied.  So worth the price!  We still buy organic locally grown poultry today.  Interestingly, Schatzker shares a similar story about frying up a 14-week-old barred rock chicken.  It didn’t look like much, but Schatzker said “The stages of pleasure went as follows: incredulity, astonishment, elation, glowing thankfulness.” [6]

Here are just a few suggestions I have to offer you as you search for the melding of flavour and nutrition to serve your greatest asset, your body:

  • Grow your own, whenever possible
  • Purchase from farmers markets
  • Eat seasonally
  • Apply SLOW logic to your food choices — seasonal, local, organic and wholesome 
  • Request more flavourful foods at your grocery stores — our local grocery store is now carrying many organic choices just because enough of us asked

As part of the appendix of this fact-supported read, Schatzker leaves you with a few tidbits on how to live long and eat flavourfully.  Below you will find my favourites and ones I will be putting into action for our family.

  • eat real flavour, after all, “In nature, flavor never appears without nutrition.” [7]
  • eat a variety of real foods
  • eat the best-tasting real food you can afford
  • avoid chemical-laden concoctions that only tease your tastebuds and trick your brain
  • use herbs and spices to complement food flavours rather than covering up blandness

Looking for ways to incorporate flavour without sacrificing nutrition into your diet?  I offer private and group cooking classes in your home. Email me at to inquire about hosting one today or to inquiry about scheduling a free discovery chat about making healthy changes to your nutritional choices.


[1] Mark Schatzker, The Dorito Effect (New York: Simon and Schuster: 2015), 17.
[2]  Ibid, 17.
[3]  Ibid, 129.
[4]  Ibid, 130.
[5]  Ibid, 127.
[6]  Ibid, 140.
[7]  Ibid, 201.

About Brenda

Brenda loves learning and sharing what she's learning with you. She is a certified keto/carnivore coach with Keto-Adapted (Maria and Craig Emmerich, a certified holistic nutritional consultant (CHNC), and a natural nutrition clinical practitioner (NNCP).