Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Hunger for the Traditional Senses, or is it?

By Anthony J Sepe


We’ve talked about Nutrition, and what nutrition is and what nutrition, is not. We’ve talked about what nutrients are, and why we need them. We’ve even talked about some better ways to get these important nutrients. So, what makes eating so enjoyable?

 1187596090ebKFAY Truly, we’d like to think that it’s fun to eat, and sometimes, it really is. However, what I really am getting at—food really is satisfying, a physical need. We eat food and drink fluids because it often begins with the overwhelming sense of either, hunger, thirst, or even, both. Physical needs precipitate the amount of food we eat and when we eat. Appetite is really an unreliable source, just as, most often times, a 24-hour recall. Because why? Often times, people don’t recall what they ate today, let alone, what they ate and in what quantities, over the past 24-hours. As a result, appetite is another drive of the human body, but just not that handy to helping out here. Appetite is generally influenced by our food preferences and the psychological mindset to eat. In other words, we can desire a particular food item, crave it; desire it; pursue it and, in some instances, even eat it, but, did we really need it. Therefore, we can even eat food in overabundance without needing the nourishment or even being hungry.

Everyone enjoys eating foods that taste delicious, but what exactly is taste? There are categories of taste: Sweet, Salty, Sour, Savory and bitter. (4s1b) Most taste buds are on the tongue, but strangely enough, some additional taste buds are located in the back of the throat and some, elsewhere in our mouth. It has been known that food scientists estimate that each of us has at least 10,000 taste buds.

1216185479668X8U Sometimes, our food preferences and our nutrition needs conflict. We may eat too much because the food is so pleasurable. When there is a reason to change our food habits, such as a need to lose weight or reduce salt or fat intake, we realize how challenging it is to control our food choices. Therefore, aromas and flavors enhance the pleasure of eating. The taste and the aroma of a food contribute to its flavor. Flavor is almost always tied into the food experience. So, let’s see. Let’s eat an ice cream sandwich or  a candy bar. We sense the sweet taste of ice cream or the candy bar, but the flavor is, of course, chocolate!  And, as most of us know, the presence of fat tends to increase the intensity of the flavor and bring us to a full feeling of satiety-- quicker. So, is smell a big part of taste? True or false. For those that answered true, you are correct!


  1. Smell is so definitely part of the taste. A lot of times when I cook, my family gets really hungry just from the smell of food coming from the kitchen even if it's way too early for dinner.

  2. Thanks for sharing; I couldn't agree more! :)