When eating something with a distinct taste, what causes the craving of an inverse taste? i.e. eating something sweet and wanting something savory after

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When eating something with a distinct taste, what causes the craving of an inverse taste? i.e. eating something sweet and wanting something savory after

In: Biology

The recipes of most processed foods are designed to make you want to eat more and more of them. They do this by carefully balancing the ingredients and not having one overwhelming flavour or texture so that your taste buds don’t get bored halfway through eating them – think coca-cola’s flavour, no single overwhelming flavour so you could happily drink it all day versus apple juice with its single flavour, after a while you’ve just had enough.

Following on from this, food manufacturers also play about with the additives which your body most appreciates: salt, fat and sugar. Think of a lasagne – exactly the right amount of salt, a surprising amount of sugar added to the sauce, and plenty of fat in the meat and added to the sauce. When you are used to eating processed food, then eat something else which is missing one of the 3 things above, your body notices it is missing and “craves” it.

Side note: Studies have shown that the stomach isn’t as easily fooled as the tongue. People who drink low calorie drinks often can’t loose weight because their stomach craves the sugar it thinks it should be getting from the drinks, and they end up snacking more.

I havent studied this topic directly but I could try to make a guess. I wouldnt be surprised if there was a neural circuit whos function is to balance nutrient intake. If the perception of taste correlates with nutritional content (ie if the taste of something is your brain’s perception of its nutritional content/value) then it would make sense that your brain would make you crave a different kind of food after youve had enough of one, because your body doesnt need anymore of the first. So youve had enough salt for today, lets get some protein now. I dont know about opposite tastes specifically. To begin with why do you say savory is the opposite of sweet? Maybe it is just that you crave the nutrient you need, so if my body needs salt I would have the urge to sprinkle more salt on my meal. That seems very likely to me, but I would love to read the answer of a professional on here.

Wonder if it has to do with sensory overload and the body wanting to maintain balance. This is why chefs are always trying to balance the 5 tastes when they cook. The inverse can also be true if the food also produces another stimulus, ie eating spicy foods lead to increased endorphins.