Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

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pmiklitz
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby pmiklitz » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:07 pm

pogmoor wrote:
pmiklitz wrote:Honey and fruit are much more agreeable than Sucrose, because they contain the same sugars as individual molecules, but don't cause the nasty side effects of Sucrose, such as tooth decay.

I'm not sure that's true. Tooth decay is mainly caused by acid-forming bacteria that feed on sugars. As far as I know they are just as happy to consume monosaccharide sugars (especially glucose and fructose) as disaccharide sugars (such as sucrose, lactose, maltose).


You seem to be right, Eric.

I was under the impression that digestion of Sucrose (i.e. splitting it into its components Glucose and Fructose) begins in the mouth and contributes to tooth decay, but that seems to be folk lore. A bit of googling reveals that its digestion begins in the small intestine where an enzyme called Sucrase does the job.

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guitarrista
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby guitarrista » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:15 pm

tom0311 wrote:You also have a maximum capacity for sugar in the blood so any more than around 5-8g in a 'sitting' and you're just putting on fat.


I don't think this is correct - excess carbs can be stored as glycogen in the body - I think on the order of 500 g of it in total can be present (liver, muscles, and other places). Also, under normal dietary conditions de novo lipogenesis (glucose-to-fat) isn't significant. What happens instead is that as excess carbs are present, the body switches to burning more carbs for energy than its usual mixture of carbs and fat, so therefore burns less fat than would otherwise be the case.
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tom0311
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby tom0311 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:07 pm

guitarrista wrote:
tom0311 wrote:You also have a maximum capacity for sugar in the blood so any more than around 5-8g in a 'sitting' and you're just putting on fat.


I don't think this is correct - excess carbs can be stored as glycogen in the body - I think on the order of 500 g of it in total can be present (liver, muscles, and other places). Also, under normal dietary conditions de novo lipogenesis (glucose-to-fat) isn't significant. What happens instead is that as excess carbs are present, the body switches to burning more carbs for energy than its usual mixture of carbs and fat, so therefore burns less fat than would otherwise be the case.



Its very easy to reach maximum glucose capacity. When people are knocking back 5 cans of Coca Cola a day a pretty hefty amount will get converted into fatty acids. My 5-8g might well be wrong as my memory on that is a bit flakey, but the conversion to fat isn't insignificant when you consider how terrible 'normal dietary conditions' are in the modern western world.
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guitarrista
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby guitarrista » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:23 pm

tom0311 wrote:
guitarrista wrote:
tom0311 wrote:You also have a maximum capacity for sugar in the blood so any more than around 5-8g in a 'sitting' and you're just putting on fat.


I don't think this is correct - excess carbs can be stored as glycogen in the body - I think on the order of 500 g of it in total can be present (liver, muscles, and other places). Also, under normal dietary conditions de novo lipogenesis (glucose-to-fat) isn't significant. What happens instead is that as excess carbs are present, the body switches to burning more carbs for energy than its usual mixture of carbs and fat, so therefore burns less fat than would otherwise be the case.



Its very easy to reach maximum glucose capacity. When people are knocking back 5 cans of Coca Cola a day a pretty hefty amount will get converted into fatty acids. My 5-8g might well be wrong as my memory on that is a bit flakey, but the conversion to fat isn't insignificant when you consider how terrible 'normal dietary conditions' are in the modern western world.


That's fine; note I responded to "any more than around 5-8g in a 'sitting' and you're just putting on fat".
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glassynails
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby glassynails » Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:57 pm

I guess what I'm wondering more is "why" and "how" do "things taste good". I eat something I like and say to myself (and feel) "that is delicious"! What's going on inside to make me feel and exclaim that? How did evolution "know" to send out dopamine? I don't think evolution "knows" anything of course, but how did dopamine come to be the response system it is? How did the body, cells, etc figure out how to send dopamine when we ate something we either needed to survive or whatever?
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Lovemyguitar
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby Lovemyguitar » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:02 am

You are mixing up the conditioned responses of current human behaviour and dietary habits with basic evolutionary processes that function instinctively in animals. "Your" brain sends out dopamine when you eat something you love and it gives you pleasure, but that, in many ways, is a conditioned response unique to you. Not everybody gets pleasure from eating, for some, it is simply a necessity, and there is no dopamine involved. If evolution worked as well as it should, we wouldn't have fast-food restaurants selling whatever it is that they call food, 24-hour convenience stores selling processed junk that they call food, rampant heart-disease, an obesity epidemic...

Human beings are well beyond basic evolution/survival when it comes to the dietary habits of many people in industrialised societies: most of them are little more than conditioned monkeys with learned eating habits, many of which are very bad for the survival of our species. People are not animals in the wild who need to rely on foraging and instinct to survive, they are much more complex, they make choices that animals in the wild (including our early ancestors) would never have had, and so those basic rules don't apply, because people have become so conditioned to a completely different way of life when it comes to their relationship with food, and they can do what they please, whether it is good for them and they need it, or not.

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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby gitgeezer » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:52 pm

Regarding sugar and evolution, it’s interesting to note which animals like sweetness and which do not. It’s all about environment and diet. Environments offer niches of habitable conditions. As organisms, by chance, come into contact with those conditions, genetic variations within the species may allow some organisms to benefit from the conditions. Over countless generations the conditions of a niche will select out and shape a new species. If sweetness was not a condition of the niche, the new species may have lost its sweetness receptors.

Felines are a family of cat species that moved into environmental niches in which savory was supreme and sweetness was not a factor. Consequently they have lost their sweetness receptors. Offer a cat two portions of the same food, except that one portion has been sweetened, and the cat will show no preference for, or avoidance of, either portion.

Grazers, on the other hand, have a heightened sense of sweetness, which allows them to taste the sugar in grass. They have a preference for sweetness. Cattle will fight over the sweetest hay.

Omnivorous humans are somewhere in between. We like sweet things, but not to the exclusion of savory. We evolved from a line of hominins that began with a mostly vegetarian diet, but gradually took advantage of environmental niches that included meat. Nevertheless, our sweetness receptors are well developed—too well developed for modern conditions, which leads to obesity.

Infant humans do not learn to like sweetness from mother’s milk. They are born with it. In one study, newborn babies were offered sucrose before they had tasted milk and showed clear signs of satisfaction and pleasure with the taste, even exhibiting faint smiles. The sweetness receptors are already there and send the appropriate signals to the brain.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby Andrew Fryer » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:23 pm

On the other hand, tests have shown that babies prefer savoury babyfood to sweet. Beware of faint smiles in babies - it can indicate gripe and other discomforts. I am deeply suspicious of people who submerge babies in swimming pools and assume from their smiles that they are loving it. Put sweet and savoury babyfood by them, and they'll eat more of the savoury.
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dory
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby dory » Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:39 pm

If you have to have something sweet and do not want tooth decay or a strong insulin respinse, try xylitol. It tastes exactly like sugar but has less calories and many fewer digestanle carbs. Obviously it wouldn't appeal to anyone who doesn't like sweets. It also causes dogs to secrete so much insulin they die of low blood sugar if they consume very much. It is interesting to see how people's food preferences vary. There is a LOT more than instinct going on.
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gitgeezer
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Re: Why does sugar taste "good" to us?

Postby gitgeezer » Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:59 pm

"SUGAR KILLS . . . and the industry has been lying about it for 40 years."
--Mother Jones


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