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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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With summer on the way, hormones go wild

It’s not only poets and songwriters who think about falling in love in the springtime; scientists at the research institute ttz Bremerhaven have been studying how falling in love, which puts your hormones in a whirl, affects your sense of taste. For the study, 46 men and women aged between 20 and 40 took part in a taste test. Before the test they completed a psychological questionnaire about their relationship status and how often they thought about their partner and how much they missed him/her.

Women’s testosterone levels higher

In cubicles in the sensory laboratory, the testees were asked to identify the concentrations at which they could recognise four basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter and salty. They then gave saliva samples which were used to test the concentration of neurotransmitters like oxytocin, and testosterone. Oxytocin is known to be released by touching and cuddling, it increases trust and bonding. Typically people who say they are in love have higher oxytonin concentrations. And in women being in love results in higher testosterone levels, approaching those normal for men.

New lovers taste salt later than pairs together
for a long time

The hormone cocktail and all those emotions seem to have an effect on people’s sense of taste. Oddly enough couples in the first rush of falling in love can taste salt only at relatively high concentrations. This could be due to higher testosterone levels. Couples in stable, long-term relationships by contrast are far more sensitive to odours and flavours not only compared with couples falling freshly in love, but also compared with singles.

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de