Why you love ice cream? Have you ever thought about this question? Maybe you are just like the feeling of eating ice cream. Ice creams can make us feel like children again when we are eating them. They can remind us of many wonderful memories when we were kids. But do you know the science behind why we love ice cream? Let’s take a look at a scientific explanation.
Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia have found that an enzyme in saliva called amylase, which breaks down starch into liquid simple sugar solution, could play a key role in determining the appeal of various textures of food. A genetic study shows that people produce strikingly different amounts of amylase, and that the more of the enzyme people have in their mouth the faster they can liquefy starchy foods. Scientists think this finding could help explain why people experience foods as creamy or slimy, sticky or watery, and that this perception could affect our preference for foods. Taste preferences of people are driven by a complicated interaction between taste buds and other receptors in the mouth and nose, and the messages they send to the brain. And culture also plays a role, as people tend to like foods that are familiar. Other research has shown that people have a preference for creamy sensations as well as for foods that start off solid and melt in the mouth such as ice cream and chocolate.
The researchers also studied the link between the numbers of copies of a gene that turns on the production of amylase and how quickly the participant reported the sample turned runny. The findings showed that the number of copies of the gene, called AMY1, varied widely between individuals. The Monell researchers are now investigating whether people with more AMY1 copies see larger spikes in blood glucose after eating. They also plan to study the link between greater amylase production and food preferences, hypothesizing that people who make more of the enzyme will prefer starchy products because they get a faster blast of glucose into their bloodstream.
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