Love Really Makes Food Taste Sweeter

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A study finds people thinking of love find food tastes sweeter. (Getty Images)

A study finds people thinking of love find food tastes sweeter. (Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Over the holidays many treats will be “made with love.”

But does emotion actually affect the taste of food?

Researchers at the National University of Singapore set to find out.

Scientists asked participants to equate different tastes with different emotions.

They were also asked to answer the question, “if love were a taste, what would it be?”

Then they were asked the same question about jealousy, sadness, betrayal and passion.

Both experiments showed strong associations between love and sweetness.

Jealousy was strongly associated with bitterness and sourness.

Then another group was brought in and told they were going to take a taste test.

Beforehand they were asked to write about times they were in love, or times they were jealous.

A control group was asked to write about Singapore landmarks.

Then they were given equally sweet or bitter pieces of chocolate candy or bread and asked to rate them on a scale from 1 to 7.

The tasters who wrote about love rated the candies as sweeter than the control group.

But the ones who were primed to feel jealousy showed no marked difference with the control group.

“In short, love “tastes” sweet, although jealousy does not “taste” sour or bitter despite what its metaphorical associations might suggest,” lead researcher Kai Qin Chan says.

One possible explanation could be how the brain is wired.

“It is possible that when one experiences love, the anterior cingulate cortex would activate representations associated with sweetness, thereby eliciting sweetness sensations even without actual sweetness input,” Chan explains.

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