Sense of Taste
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||drinker, glutamate, monosodium, provided, electrical, traditional, mouth-watering, umami, affected, dissolve, mainly, seafood, describe, meaty, combination, allow
Sense of Taste
By Sharon Fabian
1 When you put a bite of food in your mouth, it starts to dissolve. This action of the saliva in your mouth is just the first step in activating your sense of taste. Your teeth also help you to taste foods, by breaking up the big pieces so that they can dissolve quicker. Next, the taste is picked up by your taste buds. You have about 10,000 of these. The taste buds send the message to the brain, by way of nerves and electrical signals. The brain interprets these signals as tastes.
2 Besides your brain, the main organ of taste is, of course, your tongue. The tongue is made up of groups of muscles. These muscles allow the tongue to move in all directions to eat, and also to form sounds to talk. Most of your taste buds are on your tongue, but there are also some taste buds in other parts of your mouth. The taste buds on your tongue are all around the sides, but not in the middle.
3 The taste buds on the tongue pick up just four or five main tastes. The four traditional tastes are sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Scientists are also studying a fifth taste, which they have named umami. Some of the tastes seem to be concentrated on a particular area of the tongue. Sweet tastes, such as sugar or honey, are tasted mainly on the front of the tongue. Sour tastes, like lemons, are tasted on the sides. Salty tastes, such as potato chips or fries, are tasted all around the edges of the tongue. Bitter is tasted on the back of the tongue. Bitter is like the taste of unsweetened chocolate. Most people don't like bitter tastes much. Maybe you have heard a coffee drinker complain about a cup of bitter coffee. Umami is the most recently discovered taste. It is sometimes described as a meaty or savory taste. It is the taste that is provided by monosodium glutamate (MSG) that is sometimes added to food.
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