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40

Nice question! Many vegetables taste bitter because they contain compounds known as phytonutrients (Greek phyto = "plant"). There are more than 2500 phytonutrients known, and the most important (and common) ones are categorized as1: Carotenoids: they are the ones that give red/orange/yellow color to some vegetables. They are mainly antioxidants, but some of ...


28

Short answer Yes, taste sensations can be generated electrically. However, we cannot taste electrons themselves, as taste-receptor proteins on the taste receptor cells are not activated by electrons. Instead, electrical currents stimulate taste receptors directly by depolarizing the cell membrane, without the need of activation of the proteins that normally ...


24

Consumer water is not flavorless. Sources of flavor include (1) the chemical and microbial content, which is most influenced by geology and ecology; (2) chemicals added or removed during water treatment, and (3) inputs and reactions that occur during distribution and storage (Dietrich, 2006). Two examples of ecology-related flavors are geosmin and 2-...


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Bitter taste is sensed by bitter sensitive gustducin receptors (T2R family). There are different types of bitter receptors and they can be triggered by different kinds of ligands. Different classses of phytochemicals that can trigger bitter taste, are reviewed by Drewnowski and Gomez-Carneros (2000). The bitter tasting phytochemicals include phenols, ...


13

Generally, cold suppresses sweetness. As an example, consider soft drinks that are usually served cold: they taste sweeter when warm (like you said with your examples of drinks). Our taste receptors send a stronger signal to the brain when activated by warmer substances and so the perception of sweetness, in this case, is lessened when we consume cold food ...


10

It's a very simple answer. "Unhealthy" foods, for example potato chips, sugary drinks, and other fatty, cheesy or sugary edible items, have only been around a few hundred (at most) years. In prehistoric times (before agriculture, when the primary source of food was hunting and gathering), when food was scarce, fatty and sugary foods would be of great ...


6

Alkaloid synthesis is energy consuming for plants and have complex metabolic pathway. If their evolutionary history is not known with certainty, they have numerous uses and are often toxic to potential plant or animal aggressor. Chocolate contain many alkaloids including caffeine and theobromine. But apparently do it with a different pathway and is the ...


6

The spicy feeling essentially is the feeling of heat and pain. It is caused by the molecule Capsaicin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin) binding to the ion channel TRPV1 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRPV1), activating it. You can temporarily get rid of the pain by cooling (as you would with any other injury) - hence the effect of ice. ...


5

Explaining phenotypic variance You may want to make sure you have a good understanding of the concepts of the underlying variance of phenotypic variance (discussion linked to the concept of heritability) before reading this answer. In this post, I linked several sources of information on the subject. Culture (environmental variance) Variance in food ...


3

The first thing which is important to note is the difference between taste and flavor. Taste refers to the chemical sense performed by taste buds present on the tongue, and to date there have been identified 5 tastes: sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami. Thus I understand obstructed nose and sinuses should have no significant effect on taste. Flavor, on the ...


3

These are learning phenomena you describe. I'll try to explain a simple way to think about this. By default, sweet foods are appetitive and, for instance, strongly bitter foods are aversive. However, it is possible to condition yourself to associate a stimulus, no matter how it presents originally, with a different valence (appetitive or aversive). There ...


3

Soil salinity and sodicity cause severe problems in agriculture worldwide, and salt tolerance in crops is an extremely important trait and a major focus of research. Detrimental effects of high salinity on crops are multifaceted and affect plants in several ways: drought stress, ion toxicity, nutritional disorders, oxidative stress, alteration of metabolic ...


3

Humans inadvertently try to balance neophilia and neophobia - fancy names for preferring the new and fearing the new. With regards to food, most humans, and animals, take an overall stance of cautious curiosity. Curiosity as in discovering a new edible food that helps them survive and thrive, and caution as in any new food item may cause harm. Certain ...


3

This sounds like gymnemic acid, which can be isolated from the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre. It’s an “anti-sweet” compound, which wouldn’t necessarily make everything taste like dirt but might do so for you particularly. When I had it, it made my tongue slightly numb and candy tasted like nothing rather than sweetness, so it may not be what you’re looking for....


3

"Industrial" fruits and vegetables are not grown as much for flavor as for convenience, pest resistance, appearance, resistance to peel problems, resistance to bruising, etc. etc. Profitability is the main consideration. There are many varieties of apple grown in orchards that taste wonderful (better than my grandmother's gnarly green apples) but don't hold ...


3

What you describe is an example of neural adaptation, whereby neural response to a consistent stimuli becomes reduced with repetition. This occurs not just with sweetness (as shown empirically in this study on sucrose consumption by rats), but with many other types of stimuli (the feeling of clothes on your skin, the particular smell of your own home) as ...


2

@Colombo explains one reason that I think is obvious. However, there has been some research done on this. One other reason is because it would provide an evolutionary advantage in environments where calories are scarce. Also, sugar actually acts like a pain reliever. Studies show that giving sugar to babies and children during surgery act like a pain ...


2

Interesting question. The brain perceives taste or flavor as a combination of input from taste buds, the olfactory system, and even pain receptors (spicy foods). Other food contents, such as metal, spice, fat, pH, and even dissolved gas content seem to contribute. While there are 5 types of taste receptor, there are some 2000 olfactory bulbs encoded by ...


1

I would classify the neurological phenomenon of "taste" or "tastyness" as an emergent property (1), and therefore synergistic (i.e. not adequately explained simply by additive effects). For example, when something "tastes like chicken" that's a synergistic sensory pattern in your brain involving the specific ratios of the 5 basic tastes(2) on your tongue, ...


1

We are evolved to survive starvation, and live to be perhaps 35. So fatty foods with lots of calories taste good to us. Our genes (and preferences) lag thousands of years behind our present environment.


1

Youtube chemist NileRed chemically extracted DNA from strawberries in this video, he also tastes it if I remember correctly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=araeHtN_3Lk TL;DW: He gets the DNA from the strawberries and says it has a slimy texture as it isn't soluble, and it tastes salty more than anything. Note though that this could be from leftover ...


1

tl;dr; If someone likes a food item, then even if it taste not so great to you, it will probably not harm you. If a food item taste awful to everybody (in particular bitter), then it would probably be best to avoid it. Taste perception per se is not subjective, you either can detect or not a defined compound at a defined concentration. Food preference ...


1

I found an article (1) which may help you understand what happened on your tongue: Light cooling from 37 to 21°C of beverages increases your sweet taste adaption, but not actual sweetness of your drink! Another article (2) states, that a certain receptor for sweet taste perception is heat-activated. So I guess there is no universal rule for any drink, you ...


1

In addition to olfactory and gustatory, fishes have two more chemoreceptor systems, solitary chemoreceptor cells and free nerve endings (Finger TE 1997). Asking why do they have all these chemorecepor systems is 'little bit' difficult in the light of evolution. But we can definitely look at this question by using some comparative studies. Hence, this answer ...


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