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A food scientist explains why Doritos are the perfect snack

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 10/09/2017 Gus Lubin, Hollis Johnson

Doritos 1 © Provided by Business Insider Inc Doritos 1 Doritos are one of the most successful snack foods ever, with a market-leading $1.5 billion in annual sales in the US.

What makes them so good? Food scientist Steven Witherly explained "the perfect snack food" at length in his book, "
We break down the highlights -- with mouthwatering glamour shots -- below.

INTOXICATING FLAVOUR. That red powder is high in salt and sugar -- two major pleasure solutes -- and loaded with flavour-boosters like MSG, disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate. Not to mention garlic, Romano cheese, cheddar cheese, and more.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc MOUTHWATERING MAGIC. The powder also contains acids (buttermilk solids, lactic acid, and citric acid) that trigger the release of saliva. That's pleasurable in itself and also a factor that makes everything taste better.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc HIGH DYNAMIC CONTRAST. Your brain is excited by the sensation of biting into a hard substance that quickly dissolves. This is also an example of vanishing caloric density, where food seems to disappear in your mouth, tricking your brain into wanting more.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc THE PERFECT RATIO OF FAT. Your brain likes fat, and 12 mg per serving is a good start. Your brain also likes when around half of the calories come from fat, according to Witherly, and Doritos nails it with 70/140.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc COOKIVORE COMPOUNDS. It has been theorised that humans evolved to crave compounds found in cooked food. If so, then Doritos, with corn that is toasted and then fried in oil, is just what we're looking for.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc THE CHEESE EFFECT. Cheese is delicious. When digested, it also releases casomorphin, a compound that slows digestion, stimulates fat intake, and may even have a narcotic effect.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc LONG HANG-TIME. Flavours like garlic, onions, and cheese spread fast, particularly when they're found in fat calories, especially when mixed with saliva and warmed up in the mouth. This conditions your brain to crave the food and can incite cravings in anyone in the room.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc THAT JE NE SAIS QUOI. A complex mix of flavours, known as non-specific aroma quality, keeps your brain from getting bored.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc FINGER-LICKING GOOD. 'The stuff on your fingers is 5-6 times more concentrated' than the stuff on the chip, says Witherly. Your brain gets a pleasure explosion when you lick it off.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc TOO MUCH FLAVOUR? Rumour has it that, back in the 90s, Frito Lay reduced the amount of garlic power in the chip because people were complaining about Doritos breath. (Doritos breath is still a problem.)

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