Shalom Life | December 20, 2014

Israeli Study Shows That Eating the Same Food in Different Places Makes it Taste Different

Oh, the tricks of the mind!

By: Jordana Wolf, NoCamels

Published: November 10th, 2014 in Health » Israel

Israeli Study Shows That Eating the Same Food in Different Places Makes it Taste Different

Have you ever wanted to become a more adventurous food aficionado? Picky eaters of the world take note; researchers from the University of Haifa have found that if you try the same “yucky” food in a different location, your brain will be more tolerant of the new attempt.

In a new study led by Prof. Kobi Rosenblum and doctoral student Adaikkan Chinnakkaruppan at the University of Haifa, researchers established for the first time that there is indeed a functional link between the areas of the brain responsible for negative taste memory and those responsible for processing the memory of the time and location of the sensory experience. This link does not exist when we savor and enjoy a new experience with food.

The taste cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for storing memories of new tastes, is found in a rather insulated area of the human brain known as the insular cortex. The area of the brain responsible for formulating memories of time and place is the hippocampus. Until now, experts believed that no direct connection existed between these areas, meaning that taste was not related to the time and place where one experienced it. However, the latest research changes all that, and with it our understanding of eating habits and traumatic food memories.

Bad, not good, tastes are more dominant in our memory

To begin their research, scientists chose to study and investigate the taste cortex, responsible for taste memory, as well as three different areas in the hippocampus: CA1, the area responsible for encoding the concept of space; DG, the area responsible for encoding the time relationship between events; and CA3, the area responsible for filling in missing information. To do this, researchers used ordinary mice, as well as mice that were genetically engineered by their Japanese comrades. The genetically engineered mice had normal functioning brains, but lacked plasticity between the three different areas of the hippocampus making it impossible for them to form new memories in that area of the brain.

In the study, the mice were exposed to two new tastes, one mimicking the exposure to toxic food, thus causing stomach pains, and another that didn’t cause that feeling. By analyzing the two groups, it appeared that when the new taste was not accompanied with the association of toxic food, there was no difference between the normal mice and the mice that lacked plasticity. However, when the taste caused a negative feeling, there was unmistakable involvement in the area of the hippocampus responsible for encoding space.

This article was first published on NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News and was re-posted with permission. To continue reading this article on the site, click here.

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