Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is bacon the vegetarian kryptonite?

I have always been a carnivore, and even as a dieter I always have to choose a plan that lets me have meat or else it is a lost cause. But I know a number of people who have become vegetarian for health or religious reasons. So, I was interested to see that scientists are finding bacon is often a gateway meal that leads vegetarians back to a more omnivorous lifestyle. What is it about the crispy pig byproduct that makes it so irresistible?

Because bacon is one- to two-thirds fat and also has lots of protein, it speaks to our evolutionary quest for calories, Lundstrom says. And since 90 percent of what we taste is really odor, bacon's aggressive smell delivers a powerful hit to our sense of how good it will taste.

"There's an intimate connection between odor and emotion, and odor and memory," Lundstrom says. "When you pair that with the social atmosphere of weekend breakfast and hunger, bacon is in the perfect position to take advantage of how the brain is wired."

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