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Why Only Five Tastes?


Desireé Mack

Science and Society

                                     Why Only Five Tastes?

 I have all way wondered why Humans have the ability to taste so many things, to what limit can we taste things, and how many taste buds we have. I knew it had to do with making sure our food is not poison but I want to know more. Humans have taste buds to make a choice on what to ingest so we need our taste buds to sample the food to decide what to put in our mouths and what to ingest. When you look at your tongue you see lots of little pink bumps, and in those little pink bumps you have your taste buds. All taste buds are on the outer edges of your tongue. All taste buds can taste multiple flavors because inside them you have multiple cells to pick up the flavor. 

There are five main tastes, one for sweet, sour, savory, bitter, and salty. Animals have evolved to taste sugar to find carbohydrates for energy and a safe source for calories. Animals have evolved to taste savory things to be able to pick up the taste of protein. There are over 25 different types of bitter taste buds to pick out the things that might be toxic to eat and allows us to have enough sensitivity to taste something beneficial in the long run.  We have evolved to taste sour to protect us from eating things to sour that would throw our bodies out of whack and helps us figure out the ripeness of our food for nutritional value. Salt is very important to our biological task our bodies don’t store salt so it is very important that we find foods with salt.