A significant amount of research has shown the correlation between cigarette smoking and life-threatening diseases like cancer, respiratory diseases, and heart disease. Recent research has shown that smoking could also lead you to alter your experience with food by essentially dulling your taste buds.
Nelly Jacob and a team of researchers at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital APHP in France wanted to see the exact extent in which smoking can alter the ability to taste. Previous research has already shown that smoking leads to structural changes to the areas of the tongue where taste buds are found. Taste buds are the reason we can experience sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and metallic tastes when we eat. Other than the pleasurable experience of being able to taste delicious foods, taste buds have many survival functions. For instance, our taste buds can trigger the start of our digestive systems through saliva secretion. Furthermore, our taste buds enable us to differentiate between yummy foods and potentially poisonous foods.
The results of the study showed that the ability for smokers to detect salty, sweet, or sour tastes was not influenced by frequent smoking. Instead, the smokers could not fully taste the bitterness of black coffee. About one out of five of the smokers could not exactly pinpoint a bitter taste which was a significantly higher proportion than nonsmokers. Jacob was quoted as saying, “”We consider that the perception of bitter taste should be examined more closely, both as a tool for smoking cessation or for preventing smoking initiation. More generally, it should be worthwhile to consider the role of chemosensory perceptions in smoking behavior.”
This new research gives us yet another reason to either quit smoking or steer clear of the habit.
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