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Why We Find Eating So Satisfying

April 26, 2013, 6:40 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Food scientists are now discovering that the process of tasting food is one of the more complex things the brain is tasked to do, combining data from all our senses into one unified and delicious experience (or not). One key is smell. In fact, we smell our food twice: Once on the way in and once when we breath out. "The brain processes each direction differently, which is why the famously stinky Epoisses cheese tastes great once it's in the mouth. And partly why freshly brewed coffee never lives up to that first sniff. ... It is easy to confuse the two separate entities of taste and smell, and the latter holds great sway over how something will taste when it reaches your mouth."

What's the Big Idea?

Then there is taste, of course. And thanks to our taste buds, touch and taste combine to create a powerful effect. So, for instance, you know something is menthol flavored when you're getting a minty aroma, bitter taste and cooling sensation. Surprisingly, how your food sounds influences how fresh you think it is (even though taste and smell may remain uninfluenced). "In 2008, the Oxford professor Charles Spence won the Ig Nobel prize for proving the importance of noise when eating crunchy snacks. The study showed that people think Pringles 'taste' stale when they're less crunchy, even though the taste and smell remain normal."

Read it at the Guardian

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


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