What is taste? Are our taste buds the only things involved in this sensation, or something more? To be completely honest, I’m a big science nerd. So I decided to find out the science behind how we taste our food. In the article,http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/science/taste-buds-are-just-one-reason-why-we-love-some-foods-and-hate-others/2011/04/25/AFVYkZkE_story.html Bonnie Berkowitz breaks it down.
Humans use many structures when it comes to taste. Our tongs only detect sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami (Japanese word meaning savory). We must stimulate many other structures in order to tell the difference between apples and oranges. The information from the initial taste, olfactory information, and cool chemical reactions in the throat are sent to the brain to distinguish the flavor. And abracadabra, you can taste your food!
Now why are people more attracted to the sweet stuff, and usually steer clear of bitter/sour? Thats because the brain is pre-wired to go for sweet things; sweet means energy. The energy comes from glucose, and glucose is used in many body processes. Sour or bitter foods usually mean that the food is not ripe yet, meaning not as much glucose as there could be.
Another big question when it come to taste is likes and dislikes in food. I, for example, abhor tomatoes. That vinegary-acidic taste dose not sit well with me. My little brother on the other hand, can’t get enough of them. This is because of what my mom ate when she was pregnant with us. Berkowitz states that, “…we are predisposed to like flavors of foods our mothers ate while pregnant. These flavors are passed through amniotic fluids and later through breast milk…”. My mom confesses that she craved tomatoes while she was pregnant with my brother. He got a constant taste for tomatoes in the womb, and knew they were safe because mom was eating them. Good for him, he can have them!