Science Says People Can Taste Starches Too
Until now, scientists recognized five different tastes that people can differentiate: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (savory). According to some, it may be time to add "starchy" to this list.
While starch receptors on the tongue—which are necessary to classify starchy as a taste—have not yet been located, researchers say tasting starch makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, as starches are a good source of sustained energy. Worldwide, most cultures have a major source of starch in their diet—complex carbohydrates like rice, pasta, and potatoes.
Because starches are broken down into sugars in the mouth, it had been assumed that they taste sweet. However, in a new study, participants given a compound that blocks sweet receptors on the tongue were still able to identify starchy foods. This could explain why many people find complex carbohydrates comforting.
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