Chemotherapy can affect the taste of the patients. The pleasurable sensations change with age and culinary discoveries, particularly abroad. When we get older, our taste is altered, there are more bland foods. The distortion of taste is a little known but frightening side effect of treatments against cancer. The cells involved in taste perception are among those that renew quickly, like hair. They are in the front line of chemotherapy.
Taste: the taste buds
Scientists are studying the exact role of the tongue in taste. The taste is educated and cultivated especially for those who have decided to make it their profession. In cooking classes and laboratory functioning taste buds are studied closely. Research has shown that contrary to popular belief, the tongue has no defined area to recognize sweet, salty, acid or bitter. The role of the tongue in tasting is more complex than it seems. But for whatever case, it is a great thing to taste great food like those made by Nutrisystem.
Umami, a unique taste
Japanese researchers are trying to unlock the secrets of umami. Beyond the four basic tastes, sweet-salty-bitter-acid, there is in Japanese cooking a fifth taste very typical called umami. The umami does not match any of the basic flavors. Officially recognized in 1908 by Dr. Ikeda Kikunae, it remains unknown in the West for more than a century.
Lifting the mysteries of taste
Taste is a complicated way to understand and analyze. To lift its mysteries, a CNRS team conducts research on several volunteers. In a laboratory, taste is closely studied. Tasting sessions are organized for young subjects. Before each of them, a machine dispenses two lenses: one containing only water, the other of the water in which was added a flavor molecule.
Objective: To identify the sample containing the molecule. And to complicate the exercise, the controller changes the molecules and their concentration randomly. “The goal of the experiment is the measurement of a detection threshold, that is to say the concentration for a given product that the subject will perceive,” said Annick Faurion, researcher in neurophysiology of tasting.
Lactate, tartaric acid, piperine, twelve taste molecules were tested. And for those that emit an odor, no question of cheating. Specialists have provided a system so that participants can not feel anything. In two hours, each participant must try 260 samples. An exercise not as easy as it seems.
First result of this experience: the gustatory molecules detection threshold is specific to each. Second result of this research: it is possible to develop a taste. By dint of stresses, subjects manage to detect concentrations of molecules becoming weaker. By the end of the study, the experts hope to break many mysteries about taste.
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