Tickle your Senses…A Little Experiment with Chocolate!

Hershey's Dark Chocolate

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate

Does looking at this perfect piece of dark chocolate make your mouth water? Can you imagine the sweet smell and intense flavor as it melts over your tongue? The flavor then peaks as it glides down your throat….mmm…heaven!

Yes, this IS a fitness and nutrition blog, but I want to share a little food experiment, and what better subject to use than chocolate? (In moderation, of course!).

Food is fuel, but it’s also something we should enjoy. No matter what your goals are, you’re not likely to consume something if it doesn’t appeal to you in some way. Our senses play a huge role in deciding if we like something or not.

We all have a chemical sensing system. Sensory cells are located in the nose, mouth and throat and send messages through nerves to the brain. It’s the brain that identifies smell and taste. Smell and taste together is what produces flavor.

Enough Jibber Jabber? I agree!

So, Try this Experiment! (And it works extremely well with chocolate!):

Hold your nose and pop a piece of chocolate in your mouth. Chew. You most likely will have trouble tasting it. You may sense sweet or bitter, but that’s about it. You may not sense or taste anything at all. Now, let go of your nose and what happens? You immediately taste and smell the chocolate.

For the sake of argument, when the flavor is in full force in your mouth, hold your nose again. What happens? Can you still taste it? Most likely, No. Pretty Cool!

The flavor of chocolate is sensed largely by the smell.

This is also true with other food or substances with strong odors, including coffee.

I find it extremely fascinating that the human mouth has about 10,000 taste buds, but if you can’t smell it, you can’t taste it!

What can you take away from this?

This is just a fun experiment! I am continually amazed at the workings of the human body and wanted to share what I learned.

However, if you want to apply these findings to your life, I propose that when you have a bad cold and stuffy nose, you fill up on all those veggies that don’t appeal to you…like brussel sprouts, maybe? Just a little food for thought! Haha!

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Source:

Insel,P., Ross,D., McMahon,K., Bernstein,M., Nutrition Fourth Edition. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett, 2013

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