Why Do You Crave Sugar, Salt, and Fat?

Written by Science Knowledge on 1:19 AM

Your tongue has a limited variety of taste receptors because sugar, salt, and fat were the flavors most important for human survival over the last few million years of evolution. Your tongue craves sweetness because it signals ripe fruit. You yearn for salt because it’s an essential compound for basic body function. You long for fat because it’s an extremely dense source of dietary energy. On the other side of things, sourness can alert you to spoiled food, and bitterness can warn you about poisonous substances.

Our sense of taste is a great tool when we need to select nutritious, non-toxic foods from a natural environment. However, its effects aren’t as positive when we use it to guide food creation—for example, when we engineer heavily refined foods like candy-coated breakfast cereal. In this situation, our natural preference for sweet and salty runs rampant, producing foods that are literally too much of a good thing. These foods still taste
good on our tongues, but over time they can throw our bodies seriously off kilter.

The good news is that learned associations can gradually trump our built-in drive for sugar, salt, and fat. After all, many highly prized tastes involve a complex assortment of flavors along with the sour or bitter notes we normally avoid. For example, chocolate, coffee, beer, citrus peel, and greens like escarole all have strong bitter notes that we enjoy when matched with other flavors. There’s a good evolutionary reason for this flexibility— generations ago, humans who could discover new, untapped sources of food had a huge survival advantage.

This is particularly significant if you’re a parent and you want to expand your kid’s taste universe beyond chicken nuggets and plain pasta. The best advice is to present new foods, several times, with no conditions. Avoid resorting to bribery, bargaining, or threats, all of which place a taste “value” on food. (For example, using chocolate as a reward for eating spinach teaches that chocolate is desirable and spinach is not.) While you’re unlikely to find a child who prefers rapini to peanut butter, in time we can all learn to love a wide range of flavors.

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual

Related Posts by Categories



  1. 0 comments: Responses to “ Why Do You Crave Sugar, Salt, and Fat? ”


About Me

In its broadest sense, science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") refers to any systematic knowledge or practice. In its more usual restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.

Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines: natural sciences, which study natural phenomena (including biological life), and social sciences, which study human behavior and societies. These groupings are empirical sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable phenomena and capable of being experimented for its validity by other researchers working under the same conditions.


You are welcome to contact me and leave your comments in my Blog.

Science Knowledge

Want to subscribe?

Science Knowledge

Grab this Headline Animator

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner