Academic journal article Science Scope

Taste and Digestion

Academic journal article Science Scope

Taste and Digestion

Article excerpt

By Joanne Randolph. $20.95. 48 pp. Enslow Publishers. Berkeley Heights, NJ. 2017. ISBN: 9780766089914.

The book, which is part of the publisher's Amazing Human Body series, explores how taste and digestion work. As this book explains, there are two reasons why humans (and other animals) have taste--to attract them to good foods and to warn them about bad foods.

The five basic tastes include sweet, sour, salt, savory, and bitter. What is tasty to some people is unpleasant to others. Scientists believe that the reason for this is that we have different numbers of taste buds in our mouths. Flavor is not the same as taste and is mostly determined by the sense of smell.

Experiments and discoveries about taste have shown interesting results. The sweet receptors in mammalian taste buds, for example, combine two proteins. Cats, which have only one of the proteins, cannot taste sweet and are not attracted to sweet foods.

Sensitivity to sweetness also appears to be related to a region. People in the tropics seem to be less able to taste food that is less sweet, compared to those living in higher latitudes.

Research also shows that certain chemicals in some foods can temporarily change the taste of other foods. …

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