The science behind ‘hunger’ sauce
Have you ever noticed how food tastes better when you are hungry? Whenever my kids complain about a particular food, I always make sure to add a little ‘hunger’ sauce before the next time I serve it.
Now researchers have proven that food does indeed taste different when we are hungry.
According to new findings from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, not only does food taste sweeter when our stomachs are rumbling, but bitter food also becomes less difficult to eat - and both effects are moderated by a neural circuit in the hypothalamus.
Generally, we prefer sweet tastes because they signal calorie-rich food and avoid bitter and sour tastes because they signal spoiled food. However, these preferences are modified by internal states such as hunger.
Researchers found that starved mice had a greater preference for sweetness and a decreased sensitivity to aversive tastes.
These new findings could therefore provide the groundwork for the future development of methods to control taste preferences, which would have significant health benefits.
Do you find food tastes better when you are hungry?