Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010

Meals in Pill Form

Food of the future wasn't supposed to be concerned with good carbs or trans fats. Instead, the act of eating was itself supposed to go away, replaced with taking a pill. Characters from George Jetson to Leela on Futurama popped pills with the full taste, and sometimes the indigestion, that comes with a typical meal. Imagine the possibilities — feeling full and getting the right nutrients without ever cooking or worrying about calories.

Unfortunately, the physics just don't work out. The average person needs 2,000 calories each day. If you put all those calories into fat form and placed them into pills, you'd need to swallow a half-pound of pills every day. And that wouldn't even include protein, carbohydrates or essential vitamins. So why constantly swallow pills to get your fat requirement when you can have a slice of pizza?

Though our food-pill dreams may be dashed, we are getting closer to a portable flavor experience. Scientists at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, England, say they're close to coming up with a chewing gum that tastes like a full meal, like the one Violet Beauregarde chomped on in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The full calories won't be there, but the flavors are expected to be released at different times, simulating a three-course meal while chewing. Let's just hope the gum doesn't turn us into blueberries.