Up until now scientists have been in agreement: Salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami. These are the five primary taste buds.
However, a sixth taste bud may have been discovered, which could explain why we crave pizza, pasta and other complex carbohydrates.Picture: istock
Juyun Lim, an Associate Professor of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University gave 22 participants different levels of carbohydrates in liquid form.
They were then asked to rate, and describe the taste.
Dr Lim told New Scientist:
They called the taste ‘starchy.’ Asians would say it was rice-like, while Caucasians described it as bread-like or pasta-like. It’s like eating flour.
The participants were given a compound to block the enzyme which breaks down long chain carbohydrates into sugars, and short chains. They could still taste the starch, which showed that their tongue could detect the starch before it was broken down.
This might be the reason, Dr Kim says, why people prefer complex carbohydrates:
Sugar tastes great in the short term, but if you’re offered chocolate and bread, you might eat a small amount of the chocolate, but you’d choose the bread in larger amounts, or as a daily staple.
You needed an excuse for that slice of pizza? It's biology.
H/T: New Scientist