Link #2: Without Smell Apples, Potatoes and Onions Taste the Same

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Without Smell Apples, Potatoes and Onions Taste the Same

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In our last post, we focused on the legendary painter of The Potato Eaters, Vincent Van Gogh, and on his lack of an ear. It reminded us of a very old children’s experiment. Most people barely remember this experiment but it is very interesting. The experiment shows that apples, potatoes and onions all taste the same if the person eating them doesn’t have a sense of smell.


Will They Really Taste the Same?

Yes — apples, potatoes and onions will taste the same if you were to somehow block your sense of smell. The following experiment is the perfect way to test this out. It’s not even that elaborate or expensive an experiment. All you’ll need to conduct it is an apple, an onion and a potato.

You need to peel each of these three items and then slice them into identically shaped pieces. Then you use nose plugs to block your sense of smell. Using nose plugs would be ideal, but if you can’t get them, you can pinch your nose shut with your fingers and proceed with the experiment.

The task is to block your sense of smell and try each food item, without looking at it. You keep your eyes closed and touch the piece of food to different portions of your tongue, and recording what you sense, feel and taste. After this, you bite into the piece and eat it. Throughout this process, you try to determine whether what you taste is an onion, an apple or a potato. Chances are that you won’t be able to!


Why Do Apples, Potatoes and Onions Taste the Same without the Sense of Smell?

will eat for food by mikael altemark cc2.0
Will eat for food by mikael altemark cc2.0

Most people find this simple, scientifically proven fact hard to believe. They think that this is some kind of a myth, but it isn’t. There is a solid logic behind it. It’s not only your tongue and its taste buds that are responsible for your sense of taste. In fact, they are not even the most important element in your sense of taste.

About 80 percent of your sense of taste actually depends on your sense of smell. When you put a food item on your tongue, you taste the flavor (i.e., savory, sweet, bitter and sour).

What you don’t taste is the actual nature of the food item you’re eating, until its odor reaches the smell sensors (olfactory receptors) inside your nose. Your smell sensors and your taste buds work together to tell your brain what you’re eating. This is how you can taste and recognize different types of foods.


Isn’t Food Tasteless When You Have a Cold or the Flu?

Have you noticed that you lose your sense of taste when you have the flu or a cold? Have you wondered why that is, since your tongue and taste buds essentially remain unaffected by your condition? What isn’t unaffected, of course, is your nose, because it gets blocked and congested. That’s the reason why food is so tasteless when you have the flu or a cold.




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Sources:

http://listverse.com/2008/12/01/another-10-fascinating-food-facts/
http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/apples-and-potatoes/
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olfaction
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olfaction

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