I have no shame in admiting that I love Doritos. Absolutely love them. I feel a strong emotional connection to them, snacking on them during all night video game binges as a kid and stuffing my face with them as a de facto snack after a night out. It's on my Mt. Rushmore of comfort munchie food long with Synders Honey and Mustard pretzel bites and good old fashion chips and salsa. I know they're absolutely terrible for me, but whatever... They taste DELICIOUS.
New York Times reporter Michael Moss asked the same question to food scientist Steven A. Witherly. Witherly is the author of a book called "Why Humans Like Junk Food" and has a lab dedicated to studying why food tastes so damn good. If you're obsessed with Doritos, go support awesome content creation and read it at the New York Times. Here's a couple reasons Moss cites:
1. The melting sensation has a "vanishing caloric density" that delays the "feeling of fullness." In otherwords, this is why you can binge on an entire bag without feeling full... until about an hour later, when you feel like shit.
2. Nacho Cheese Doritos deliver half its calories through fat, which is not experienced as a basic taste. Instead, the fat in food tingles "the trigeminal nerve," which goes straight to the brain's pleasure center. In otherwords, the fat in Doritos = similar body reaction to, say, orgasms.
3. The way the Nacho Cheese is blended is super-fine, meaning it creates a "gold dust" that "maximizes the amount that will contact saliva." So licking your fingers sends a mega-flavor orgasm to the brain.
4. The blend of romano, garlic, and salt is scientifically enhanced to increase flavor. Romano is heavy in aimo acids ("to convey a brothy flavor"), garlic causes flavor to linger in a process known as "umami," and salt is what stimulates that pleasure center of the brain to make it all happen.
5. MSG, a.k.a. monosodium glutamat. This is the ingrident -- still used widely in processed foods -- causes the "brain to sizzle" when mixed with salt. It's basically an explosion to the existing flavors of the chips. There's also MSH nucleotide derivatives called "disodium inosinate" and "disodium guanylat" that make things full-nuclear in your mouth.
Seriously, it's a fascinating read. Jump over to the New York Times for more...