Everyone loves brunch—but the menu can leave you with one major dilemma: sweet or savory? But why do some people always seem to prefer something sugary—while others make salty treats their go-tos?
“What we like and what we eat is probably one of the most fundamental mysteries of human behavior,” says Julie Mennella, Ph.D, a biopsychologist who studies the science behind taste. That being said, “It’s not that you dislike sweet or you dislike salt. It’s that you may like lower levels of one.”
As you know, our taste buds (which we have 10,000 of, by the way) respond to four different types of flavors—sweet, salty, sour, and bitter—but some of us seem more inclined to reach for chocolate over chips than others.
So what’s behind that insatiable sweet or salty tooth? A lot of it is genetic. Our DNA determines how sensitive we are to certain flavors—those of us with a sweet tooth may have a higher sweet threshold, for example, so we crave more sugar to satisfy our taste buds.
At the same time, our brains are also hardwired to succumb to a sugar crush.
“When it comes to [the] liking of sweet, it’s not just how sensitive you are,” says Mennella. “It’s also what’s happening in your brain. The sweet signal gets sent to reward centers in your brain.”
No wonder we can’t keep our paws off the desserts.
But aside from our genetic influences, taste is largely dependent on what we get used to eating.
“You learn from what you eat,” says Mennella. “The more of one flavor you have in your diet, the more you become accustomed to it.”
So if you grew up feasting on potato chips, you’re more likely to prefer that same salty taste as you get older. Now excuse us while we go enjoy a bag of the crunchy snack with our lunch.
Source : Women’s Health