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Disgusting Flavors We Never Got a Chance to Love

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We're not sure what flavor you like your laxatives, PEZ and tortilla chips, but we're guessing these aren't them. The following are some of the biggest marketing missteps, all done in very bad taste.

PEZ that belong in a vase: The truth is, everyone loves the containers. But I, for one, am actually a huge fan of that chalky deliciousness of PEZ candy. Whether it's grape, lemon, strawberry or orange, one packet of the good stuff never seems to be enough. That said, it's only recently that I learned that PEZ had quite a few failures on the flavor front back in the 1960s (including a cherry PEZ that tasted too much like cough medicine). Specific recipes aside, however, their absolute worst idea has to be the psychedelic Flower flavored PEZ, introduced in 1968. I'm not sure what sort of marketing survey determined that people wanted to step up to this all-you-can-eat bouquet, but where flower power was a huge success in the 60s, PEZ's flower powder wasn't.

Vegetable Jell-O: Of course PEZ wasn't the only beloved kids treat to make a few celeryjello.JPG.jpgmissteps. One of the biggest flavor offenders seems to be Jell-O, who tried and failed with Coffee, Chocolate and Cola flavors (which latter went flat the soonest, almost immediately after it launched). Their most behated flavor, however, has to be Celery, which was apparently created for use in salads. And while Jell-O still sticks by their "There's always room for Jell-O" slogan, supermarkets didn't feel that way, and quickly booted it from their shelves.

(several more after the jump)

From the EX-LAX to the Next Lax: I'd read about Fig-flavored Ex-Lax and the bomb 50349a.jpgthat it was a few years ago while doing a mental_floss story, but it's only recently that we found pictures of the tins. I'm not sure what inspired the unusual fruit flavoring, but I do like their effort. Of course, the only thing stranger than the fig flavor to me is how the inventor came up with the name for his product. Immigrant Max Kiss told everyone that Ex-Lax stood for excellent laxative, but the name actually came from the Hungarian newspaper, which used it as a slang term for parliamentary deadlock.

DORITOS inspired by LOL cats: While it hasn't bombed just yet, the super-secret cheezburger_410.jpgDoritos X-13D are cheeseburger flavored and only available in taste test labs as of now. Apparently, the chips are brighter than the average Dorito (which I'm guessing means they glow?), and taste like an All-American favorite with a hint of pickle. I'm not a gambling man, but I'm guessing the Vegas odds on this one lasting a full year are pretty slim.

Unpopular POP-TARTS: Oddly enough, sometimes there are flavors that sound decently appetizing, but just don't work in the market place. Pop-Tarts forays into Chocolate Cherry Chip and Frosted Peanut butter and Jelly seem to be two flavors that neither kids nor mother approved. Without much in the way of shelf-confidence, the two normal tastes were quickly relegated to land of forgotten flavors. Similarly, Nestle Quik's surprisingly unpopular Cookies N Cream simply couldn't sway enough milk drinkers its way.

61CCQK5MXSL._AA280_.gif.jpgTOOTHPASTE and brushes of genius: That said, occasionally marketers reach to capitalize on silver screen potential. That seems to be the case with, well, REACH toothpaste, which decided what better flavor to brush your teeth with than banana flavored toothpaste. Of course, the cute monkey business that is Curious George tooth gel has nothing on Breath Pallette's, which come in the strange Sweet Salt, Darjeeling Tea, and Indian Curry flavors to name a few.

DISGUSTING FLAVORS THAT WORK: Of course, sometimes gross flavors are just turkeygravey.jpgpart of the gimmick. Bertie Bott's Jelly Beans, straight out of Harry Potter for instance, feature yuck-inducing varieties like black pepper, earwax, earthworm and vomit. Kids, however, don't seem to be the only ones wiling to put their allowance on the line for a bit of disgusting. Fans of Jones Soda regularly shell out their Thanksgiving cash to get a sip of their limited-edition turkey and gravy flavored pop.

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So, did we miss any gross flavor missteps along the way? Post "˜em in the comments already! I'm itching to hear more.

NOTE: special thanks to Kara and Sandy for their enormous research help on this post.

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The Brain Chemistry Behind Your Caffeine Boost
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Whether it’s consumed as coffee, candy, or toothpaste, caffeine is the world’s most popular drug. If you’ve ever wondered how a shot of espresso can make your groggy head feel alert and ready for the day, TED-Ed has the answer.

Caffeine works by hijacking receptors in the brain. The stimulant is nearly the same size and shape as adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that slows down neural activity. Adenosine builds up as the day goes on, making us feel more tired as the day progresses. When caffeine enters your system, it falls into the receptors meant to catch adenosine, thus keeping you from feeling as sleepy as you would otherwise. The blocked adenosine receptors also leave room for the mood-boosting compound dopamine to settle into its receptors. Those increased dopamine levels lead to the boost in energy and mood you feel after finishing your morning coffee.

For a closer look at how this process works, check out the video below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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5 Tips for Becoming A Morning Person
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You’ve probably heard the term circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that influences your daily routine: when to eat, when to sleep, and when to wake up. Our biological clocks are, to some extent, controlled by genetics. This means that some people are natural morning people while others are night owls by design. However, researchers say the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle, which is good news if you want to train yourself to wake up earlier.

In addition to squeezing more hours out of the day, there are plenty of other good reasons to resist hitting the snooze button, including increased productivity. One survey found that more than half of Americans say they feel at their best between 5 a.m. and noon. These findings support research from biologist Christopher Randler, who determined that earlier risers are happier and more proactive about goals, too.

If you love the idea of waking up early to get more done, but you just can't seem to will yourself from out under the covers, here are five effective tips that might help you roll out of bed earlier.

1. EASE INTO THE HABIT.

If you’re a die-hard night owl, chances are you’re not going to switch to a morning lark overnight. Old habits are hard to break, but they’re less challenging if you approach them realistically.

“Wake up early in increments,” Kelsey Torgerson, a licensed clinical social worker at Compassionate Counseling in St. Louis suggests. “If you normally wake up at 9:00 a.m., set the alarm to 8:30 a.m. for a week, then 8:00 a.m., then 7:30 a.m.”

Waking up three hours earlier can feel like a complete lifestyle change, but taking it 30 minutes at a time will make it a lot easier to actually stick to the plan. Gradually, you’ll become a true morning person, just don’t try to force it to happen overnight.

2. EXERCISE IN THE MORNING.

Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, so jumping on the treadmill or taking a run around the block is a great way to start the day on a high note. Also, according to the National Sleep Foundation, exercising early in the morning can mean you get a better overall sleep at night:

“In fact, people who work out on a treadmill at 7:00 a.m. sleep longer, experience deeper sleep cycles, and spend 75 percent more time in the most reparative stages of slumber than those who exercise at later times that day.”

If you don’t have much time in the morning, an afternoon workout is your second best bet. The Sleep Foundation says aerobic afternoon workouts can help you fall asleep faster and wake up less often throughout the night. “This may be because exercise raises your body’s temperature for about four to five hours,” they report. After that, your body’s core temperature decreases, which encourages it to switch into sleep mode.

3. MAKE YOUR BEDROOM IDEAL FOR SLEEP.

Whether it’s a noisy street or a bright streetlight, your bedroom environment might be making it difficult for you to sleep throughout the night, which can make waking up early challenging, as you haven’t had enough rest. There are, however, a few changes you can make to optimize your room for a good night’s sleep.

“Keep your bedroom neat and tidy,” Dr. Nancy Irwin, a Los Angeles-based doctor of psychology on staff as an expert in sleep hygiene at Seasons Recovery Centers in Malibu, suggests. “Waking up to clutter and chaos only makes it more tempting to crawl back in bed.”

Depending on what needs to be improved, you might consider investing in some slumber-friendly items that can help you sleep through the night, including foam earplugs (make sure to use a vibrating alarm), black-out drapes, light-blocking window decals, and a cooling pillow

Another simple option? Ditch the obnoxious sound of a loud, buzzing alarm.

“One great way to adapt to rising earlier is to have an alarm that is a pleasing sound to you versus an annoying one,” Dr. Irwin says. “There are many choices now, whether on your smartphone or in a radio or a freestanding apparatus.”

4. TAKE THE TIME TO PROPERLY WIND DOWN.

Getting up early starts the night before, and there are a few things you should do before hitting the sack at night.

“Set an alarm to fall asleep,” Torgerson says. “Having a set bedtime helps you stay responsible to yourself, instead of letting yourself get caught up in a book or Netflix and avoid going to sleep.”

Torgerson adds that practicing yoga or meditation before bed can help relax your mind and body, too. This way, your mind isn’t bouncing from thought to thought in a flurry before you go to bed. If you find yourself feeling anxious before bed, it might help to write in a journal. This way, you can get these nagging thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

Focus on relaxing at night and stay away from not just exercise, but mentally stimulating activities, too. If watching the news gets your blood boiling, for example, you probably want to turn it off an hour or so before bedtime.

5. GET YOUR DAILY DOSE OF LIGHT.

Light has a immense effect on your circadian rhythm—whether it’s the blue light from your phone as you scroll through Instagram, or the bright sunlight of being outdoors on your lunch break. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, scientists compared the sleep quality of 27 subjects who worked in windowless environments with 22 subjects who were exposed to significantly more natural light during the day.

“Workers in windowless environments reported poorer scores than their counterparts on two SF-36 dimensions—role limitation due to physical problems and vitality—as well as poorer overall sleep quality," the study concluded. "Compared to the group without windows, workers with windows at the workplace had more light exposure during the workweek, a trend toward more physical activity, and longer sleep duration as measured by actigraphy.”

Thus, exposing yourself to bright light during the day may actually help you sleep better at night, which will go a long way toward helping you wake up refreshed in the morning.

Conversely, too much blue light can actually disturb your sleep schedule at night. This means you probably want to limit your screen time as your bedtime looms closer.

Finally, once you do get into the habit of waking up earlier, stick to that schedule on the weekends as much as possible. The urge to sleep in is strong, but as Torgerson says, “you won't want your body and brain to reacclimate to sleeping in and snoozing.”

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