Many (most?) physiological receptors adapt to the substance they bind to, leading to higher dosages required to elicit the same response.

In pharmacology, it’s called “drug tolerance”. In physiology, “neural adaptation” or “sensory adaptation” (or simply “adaptation”).

This happens, for instance, with drugs such as marijuana, and special food items such as chili pepper.

My question is: why doesn't this happen with salt and sugar? What are the proximal (physiological) and distal (evolutionary) mechanisms that explain this discrepancy?

  • $\begingroup$ What makes you think it doesn't happen? just look at the dietary preferences of humans in places where high sugar foods are common. $\endgroup$ – John May 23 '20 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ @John So does it happen with sugar? I'm not sure it happens as much as with pepper, though. And what about salt? $\endgroup$ – Rodrigo May 23 '20 at 15:48

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