You are what you eat – really?

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Everybody has heard of the old saying ‘you are what you eat’. A study suggests that the more accurate version would be ‘you are what you ate as a baby.’

Childhood conditions us to an extent that we previously hadn’t fathomed. Aside from moulding your personality, childhood experiences also impact on what you like to see in your plate and what foods make you sick just by the mere thought of seeing them in front of you.

Said study gathered feedback collected from 10 people with very polarized backgrounds: one was a Portuguese restaurateur fond of oily meals, another one was an english track & field athlete swearing by meal replacements and protein bars, yet another respondent was a french university student who’d married her microwave…

They then were ‘pitted’ against each other and had to eat each other’s favorite dish.


Needless to say, the fatty portuguese menu didn’t fare well with the UK athlete. His own steamed chicken breast with broccoli didn’t do much better and the student who tasted it spat it out in disgust!

They obviously couldn’t agree on what dishes were universally good except for one thing: sweet, sugary foods. They were then presented with the task of judging two different ketchups: a regular ketchup and the same ketchup but ‘spiked’ with a bit of vanilla powder. The same powder that’s been used for decades in the milk industry to sweeten dairy products.

Big surprise here: almost 70% percent of the respondents liked the ‘enriched’ ketchup over the regular one. This clearly shows that taste is acquired at a very early age and that despite our valiant efforts to banish sugar from our fitness-oriented diets, old habits die hard, especially in Bangkok where almost every dish contains a dash of palm, brown or white sugar!

For those of you who speak french (where are you??), here’s the source of the study :