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Thu Apr 25, 2019, 01:24 AM

Smells delicious: our tongues can detect odours, study suggests

Researchers say adding sweet smells to food could cut sugar intake and help tackle obesity
Nicola Davis
Wed 24 Apr 2019 00.15 EDT

The tongue does not just detect taste, but might pick up on odours too, according to research shedding new light on how we perceive flavour.

The tongue has long been known to detect whether something tastes sweet, sour, salty, bitter or umami (savouriness) thanks to cells that carry taste receptors proteins that interact with particular molecules in food.

But now it seems the tongue might have more muscle than previously thought when it comes to determining flavour, with researchers revealing taste cells also bear odour-detecting proteins.

Experts said the findings call into question the idea that the taste of food and its odour are detected separately in the mouth and nose respectively, and only combined in the brain to produce an overall impression of flavour.


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Reply Smells delicious: our tongues can detect odours, study suggests (Original post)
Judi Lynn Apr 2019 OP
mr_lebowski Apr 2019 #1
Igel Apr 2019 #2
CloudWatcher Apr 2019 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 01:55 AM

1. I tend to doubt this myself ...

Try this experiment sometime. Put a couple earplugs up your nose so you cannot inhale through it at all. Then put on a blindfold and have someone give you a piece of raw potato to eat, and then a piece of raw apple (in no specific order of course).

As long as one or the other does not have a WILDLY more gritty texture than the other (suggesting to you a potato on that basis alone), your 'tongue' will not be able tell you which one you are chewing.

Your experience of chewing one of these two things vs. the other ... is due to your sense of smell. If you cant' inhale through your nose, you can't tell.

And you might think 'well, the tongue can detect sweet, and a potato isn't sweet!' ... actually, it is sweet. It's all carbs. But it doesn't 'smell sweet'.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 25, 2019, 06:45 PM

2. There are odors

which, when I walk into a room, I taste.

I've forbidden my students to use certain products, and openly said, "Because they taste horrible." "But you're not eating them?"

The chemicals are in the air. They're water soluble. Saliva dissolves them. I taste them.

They taste horrible.

Just because it works with some chemicals doesn't mean it has to work with all chemicals.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Apr 26, 2019, 07:23 PM

3. Wasn't this common knowledge?

I can't count the number of times that I've watched my cats, when they are intensely sniffing something, open their mouth and "smell" with their tongue. They're not licking it, just opening their mouth and sticking their tongue out a little to help "smell" whatever they're investigating.

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