Taste is a matter of survival, not just pleasure. Current Biology reports on advances in taste perception. They highlight the importance of taste in life experience and link the taste of certain nutrients and compounds to our very survival. Authors Paul Breslin and Alan Spector say there are five generally accepted tastes, which are associated with different classes of compounds: Sweet, Umami (savory), Salty, Sour, and Bitter.
The compounds are first organized by the taste receptor cells, which, when activated, stimulate taste bud cells and the neural fibers connected to them. The brain then interprets these. However, the authors say that the quality of taste can’t be separated from indulging in food just for pleasure.
“What adaptive function does a taste quality serve?” The authors conclude what an animal ingests, both in the short-term and over a lifetime, has consequences for survival. So critical is taste in this respect that people, who lose their sense of taste, such as after radiation therapy, often will not eat.
Grace says strawberries are tasty!
While we may tend to take the sense of taste for granted, relative to other senses, it turns out that it’s important for health and quality of life. Breslin and Spector ultimately reinforce the importance of teaching your children how to enjoy the various tastes and textures of whole foods! What you do now, will affect them for the rest of their lives.
Children (and adults) instinctively gravitate toward sweet tasting foods. Food producers know this and you’ll find that sugar is a common ingredient in processed foods. Because sugar consumption is so prevalent, our children’s health has been compromised. This is hard to comprehend, but each person eats approximately 150 pounds of sugar a year. That’s about two and a half pounds of sugar every week!
You can teach your child, even a picky eater, to enjoy the taste and texture of whole foods. (CLICK HERE to find out more about how to teach your child to love whole foods.) If you have a picky eater, who refuses to eat new foods with different tastes, it’s important to include positive auditory and tactile experiences to promote healthy eating patterns. The Baby Bite steps incorporate multi-sensory learning into mealtime experiences for the picky eater.
For more information about Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, CLICK HERE.