First Bite Book Summary - First Bite Book explained in key points
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First Bite summary

Bee Wilson

How We Learn to Eat

3.8 (33 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

'First Bite' by Bee Wilson explains the complex psychology behind our food choices. From childhood to adulthood, our relationship with food is shaped by a range of factors, from culture to biology. Wilson argues that by understanding these factors, we can make healthier and happier decisions about what we eat.

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    First Bite
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    Think you were born to hate certain foods? Think again. Your palate is built through experience.

    Have you given up on the possibility of your child ever liking broccoli or brussels sprouts? It might seem as if children are hardwired to hate certain foods, but this simply isn’t the case.

    Researchers, whether neurologists or biologists, agree that our palate isn’t something we’re born with but something we learn.

    The mainstream consumer, however, is mostly unaware of this fact. Many of us believe that our love for sweets is an evolutionary phenomenon. Humans learned to seek out sweet foods because, unlike bitter foods, they generally weren’t poisonous. So as sugary treats are everywhere, we can blame our brains for being unable to resist the sweet temptation.

    And yet here’s an interesting wrinkle. While humans supposedly crave sweet treats, what one person considers sweet may be thought of as bland and tasteless to someone else.

    A 2012 study revealed that some individuals don’t get their sweet fix from sugary cereals, but rather prefer a ball of mozzarella or a sun-ripened cob of corn.

    There is plenty of sugar in foods that aren’t immediately thought of as sweet. Consider that nearly a third of the population in Western countries doesn’t reach for sweetened cereals for breakfast.

    The most important factor in your palate’s development, far more important than your biological makeup, is your food environment.

    Which sorts of foods did you grow up eating? If you didn’t consume a lot of sugar as a child, fresh corn on the cob tastes as sweet as can be. But if you gobbled a lot of processed salty snacks and sweet treats, that ear of corn won’t satisfy your craving for sweetness.

    In short, taste isn’t something we’re born with but rather something we learn through eating.

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    What is First Bite about?

    First Bite (2015) reveals the real root of eating problems: our very first childhood experiences with food. Backed by fascinating scientific studies, these blinks explain the perils of marketing food to children and the negative influence of gender norms and well-intentioned families. Finally, they direct us toward positive dietary change.

    First Bite Review

    First Bite (2015) by Bee Wilson is a fascinating exploration of the world of food and how our tastes and eating habits are shaped. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Through scientific research and historical anecdotes, the book uncovers the intriguing ways our childhood and environment influence our relationship with food.
    • It offers practical insights on how to overcome picky eating, develop healthy eating habits, and ultimately enjoy a more diverse and joyful relationship with food.
    • With its engaging storytelling and thought-provoking insights, the book maintains a perfect balance between informative and entertaining, ensuring that it is anything but boring.

    Best quote from First Bite

    A child will only benefit from a healthy balanced lunch when he or she has developed a taste for healthy balanced food.

    —Bee Wilson
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    Who should read First Bite?

    • Parents who want their children to eat healthily
    • Individuals worried about binging or comfort eating
    • Overweight people struggling to maintain a balanced diet

    About the Author

    Bee Wilson is a historian and author of many books, including Swindled and Consider the Fork. Also an acclaimed food journalist, Wilson was named food writer of the year in 2002 by BBC Radio and food journalist of the year in 2004, 2008 and 2009 by the Guild of Food Writers for her Sunday Telegraph column, The Kitchen Thinker.

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    First Bite FAQs 

    What is the main message of First Bite?

    The main message of First Bite is that our food preferences and eating habits are shaped by a variety of factors, and we have the power to change them.

    How long does it take to read First Bite?

    The reading time for First Bite varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is First Bite a good book? Is it worth reading?

    First Bite is a fascinating book that explores the complex world of food preferences. It offers insights and practical advice, making it worth reading for anyone interested in understanding their relationship with food.

    Who is the author of First Bite?

    The author of First Bite is Bee Wilson.

    What to read after First Bite?

    If you're wondering what to read next after First Bite, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell
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    • Raising Critical Thinkers by Julie Bogart
    • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
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