a case against taste

Man has enjoyed delicious entrees for millennia, ranging from fresh leg of mutton to stuffed-crust pizza. In that time, he has become less reliant on food as sustenance and more aware of its alternative uses. One could argue that it is the persistence of taste that drives mans specific hunger, and that the eradication of the taste sensation would offer a myriad of benefits for mankind.

Taste can be viewed as a biological mechanism driving man toward certain foods. A predilection for fresh fruit, for example, provides a diet high in carbohydrates and rich in energy. The yearning for a well-cooked (or raw, for that matter) ribeye steak leads to protein and grants physical strength. A problem has arisen, however, in that man no longer needs to be told what to like. He does not need to choke down as much sugar as he can get for fear that it will be scarce in the coming weeks; the grocery store is always a short drive away. Still, he is over-consuming fats and cholesterol and other essentials because they are contained within foods his mind is causing him to desire.

If taste were eliminated, the effects would be subtly radical. A simple snipping of the chorda tympani and man would no longer need to ingest so many burritos to satiate his appetite. He could be satisfied with three meals of nutritious, fortified gruel daily, focusing on vitamins and minerals and leaving out excess calories. The effects would be seen on the teeth, with less processed sugar leading to a higher oral pH, thereby less demineralization, fewer caries and a reduction in gingivitis and periodontitis. Type 2 diabetes mellitus and other diseases would also see drastic reductions in incidence. Similarly advantageous outcomes would be decreased weight gain with increased cardiovascular health, as well as increased productivity, fertility, and a host of other results.

There is little debate that poor diet plays a large role in establishing many deleterious states in man, or that diet selection is mainly a product of taste. While it is infeasible, and arguably unethical, to offer a surgical removal of taste, the prognosis of such an undertaking would be quite good. Tastes positive effects are vestigial in modern society, and, as such, taste itself could be seen as expendable.

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