“It smells delicious.”
“Looks very appetizing, I wonder how it tastes?”
“Wow! This tastes nothing like I imagined!”
Listening to hordes of people around me in a food court discuss the different characteristics of food made my mind swirl in the direction of how exactly humans use their sense of taste as a strong determinant to good food. Of course, you might argue that it is no coincidence that we use taste as an indicator of good food but let us explore the science behind it. Think about it – there are so many food items that taste particularly appetizing to you but might not elicit the same reaction from someone else. One might chalk it out to individual preferences; but like everything else with our body, our brain plays an important role in helping us choose the food that will be beneficial to us.All of us have innate taste preferences that make the final decision for us before we consciously think about it.
This fascinating study explains in detail how our taste buds are essentially responsible for differentiating between ingestible and non-ingestible foods. It is similar to the body’s reflexive reaction when it accidentally touches a hot surface; it protects us from the impending harm in the form of pain. I am not merely commenting on our sense of recognizing spoilt food but instead our evolved capability of eating food items that will provide us the most nutrition. Our tasting abilities are certainly being challenged in this day and age and the fast food industry is a perfect example of the same. They are thriving by using flavour enhancers in order to confuse our brain into thinking we are eating edible food.
Although it is certainly interesting to know the process of our body that decides which food products are good for us, it is essential to point out just how much we rely on our sense of taste to make important buying decisions. It is therefore the moral responsibility of food manufactures to supply us with products that contain the perfect balance of taste and nutrition without utilizing artificial resources.