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Thread: flavour and tasting

  1. #1 flavour and tasting 
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    I wonder, how come things have a flavour and we can taste them? I know different material has different characteristics (chemical composition, vitamins and minerals present), but why do they have a different flavour? And how can we discern those materials with our tongue? I never thought about this, and now it puzzles me


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  3. #2 Re: flavour and tasting 
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    I wonder, how come things have a flavour and we can taste them? I know different material has different characteristics (chemical composition, vitamins and minerals present), but why do they have a different flavour? And how can we discern those materials with our tongue? I never thought about this, and now it puzzles me
    I'm pretty sure it's all about PH levels and the combination of them scattered on a substance. Your taste buds pick up these vast number of PH combinations and create a taste. Texture also has a play on how your brain likes or dislikes a certain food item. I'm pretty sure it's all PH in the end.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    yea I think the brain must be involved. It strikes me that in general we like the taste of things that are good for us (with the notable exception of what McDonalds offers us!), while we dislike unhealthy and toxic things. and even MacFood should be explainable: in prehistoric times, when our genes were molded in roughly their present form, salt and fat was healthy: better to get a bit more of it than lack it. Salt was pretty scarse in those days.

    To drag my parents cats into it again: they are absolutely crazy about some kind of vitamin-pill. Really strange story. It's a 'spirulina' pill, a green thingy made of algae that contains some minerals and such. When the cats smell one they go crazy and they would even bite your hand if it takes you too long to hand them the pill (they never bite normally)! Seems like it contains some things that are good for them. So in general, I think cats also have this link of healty food = tasty food.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    Well some foods contain chemicals that stimulate the brain, such as cheese. Hot and spicy foods produce endorphins. For me I love Mexican food, the hotter the better. Top that off with lots of cheese and my brain is very happy. Now add a good drink or two and I'm in a mind altered state. McDonalds to me just tastes nasty. Watch the movie Super Size Me and you'll start to taste it the way I do

    My dog loves bread, you can take a steak bone right out of her mouth and she won't even be bothered a bit, if we try that with a piece of bread she might just bite us. For a female Golden Retriever that's saying a lot. They are such nice dogs. She also will eat hot peppers and many vegtables.
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  6. #5  
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    addictions also play a part. you get cravings...
    and extream of thias is alchool!! or chocolate!!

    i love'd the taste of vodka from my (ex ... drunkard.....bi**h) .. the taste from her ...(am i allowed to say...) toung.

    the addiction to junk too
    Stumble on through life.
    Feel free to correct any false information, which unknown to me, may be included in my posts. (also - let this be a disclaimer)
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  7. #6 Re: flavour and tasting 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    I wonder, how come things have a flavour and we can taste them? I know different material has different characteristics (chemical composition, vitamins and minerals present), but why do they have a different flavour? And how can we discern those materials with our tongue?
    Well, I'm no expert, but the tongue can only detect two tastes - salt and sour. What we call "flavour" is actually an olfactory experience, though how a stimulus through the nose feels like it's in the mouth I couldn't say.
    Anyway, you know this is true, because when you have a head cold, you can't taste, right? And colds affect the nose, not the tongue.
    Chemically, organic matter contains things called flavoproteins and, geuss what? They have nothing to do with flavour!
    My best shot would be that for anything to have odour and/or flavour means that it is continually releasing volatile esters, each with it's own characteristic flavour.
    Salivary enzymes probably facilitate the relase of these esters
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  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    Actually it's four tastes, Bitter, Sour, Sweet and Salty.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by (In)Sanity
    Actually it's four tastes, Bitter, Sour, Sweet and Salty.
    Thankyou, Smartypants!
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  10. #9  
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    Hi,

    even if the tongue is only able to distinguish four flavours, we are able to discriminate more. Its similiar to vision. Within the retina, cells are only able to respond to few colours(wavelenghts). But further processing is done in the brain.
    what kind of process is responsible for the conscious perception of tastes and smells is a huge problem. Within the "philosophy of mind" the problem is know as the "qualia-problem".

    When you are able to solve it - the nobel prize committee has only to know which area is affected most.
    Greetings,

    BM
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  11. #10  
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    "The sense of smell has remained the most enigmatic of the senses. The work of Axel and Buck has provided understanding about how the nose is able to distinguish more than 10,000 smells. The researchers discovered a gene pool of more than 1,000 different genes that encode olfactory receptors in the nose. This is believed to be the largest gene family in the human genome."

    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/04/1..._laureate.html
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  12. #11  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
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    intriguing! yes there must be an important role for the nose, and the brain. Let's test it!

    What if you'd take one candy and give it a really bad smell, would you still like the taste? If not, then the nose is important enough in determining the outcome.

    Next, take a candy and mess with the appearance and texture, so it looks bad while the taste and smell havent changed. If the candy tastes bad this time, the brain must've caused that.

    Any volunteers? :P
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