DailyDirt: Accounting For Taste

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Thanks to the receptors in our taste buds, eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. Of the five different taste sensations, sweetness is probably the most pleasing. Starting from infancy, our bodies are already programmed to seek out sugar because it provides the energy to keep us going. There is also some indication that babies can be influenced to like salt if they are exposed to salty foods early on. As part of an evolutionary survival mechanism, our bodies are programmed to avoid eating bitter tasting things because many toxic compounds taste bitter. People like to eat sour-tasting foods, like citrus fruits or pickles, but from an evolutionary perspective, sourness is generally a warning for food spoilage. Finally, umami is supposed to be a "savory" taste, which is produced when our taste buds detect glutamate, the salt of the amino acid glutamic acid. Foods that naturally have an umami taste include cheese and tomatoes, so it's no wonder that pizza tastes so good! Here are a few more tasty tidbits. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2012 @ 5:13pm

    dogs can taste sweet

    cuz you gotta make sure they don't get into antifreeze -- it tastes sweet but it's also toxic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      kyle clements (profile), 5 Oct 2012 @ 7:06pm

      Re: dogs can taste sweet

      One of the dangers of the advanced chemistry of the modern age is that we can create things that trick our bodies, bypassing the warning systems we have developed over millions of years of evolution.

      In nature, very few sweet things are toxic. Lead is the only thing I can think off. Lead is delicious.

      If you are concerned about antifreeze, only ethylene glycol is toxic. Propylene glycol, a common "marine antifreeze" or "non-toxic antifreeze" is also used a food additive, so use it instead and your pets will be fine. It doesn't taste nearly as good as ethylene glycol does, but it wont kill you or your pets either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    F.J. Bergmann, 6 Oct 2012 @ 9:15am

    feline sweet tooth

    Are they sure about cats not having sugar receptors? Because my fattest cat just climbed up on the table to scarf down maple-syrup-soaked pancakes. No bacon involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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