Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Science of it All

I love salty and sweet together. But I can't be alone in my thinking given the popularity of anything and everything "salted caramel". I've always loved salty and sweet tastes together. Below are some of my favorites...

Sea salt caramels
Oreo Cookie Popcorn Recipe

Listen, do not knock it until you've tried a bolana sandwich. Trust me. :)

But, did you know there's an actual science behind sweet and salty tastes and how they work together? It's not just randomly pairing items together (though based on my particular tastes you may think so), but there's a science to it.

A study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that certain sugar receptors that were thought only to exist in the gut were spotted on sweet taste cells on the tongue. Researchers, led by Dr. Robert Margolskee, of the Monell Chemical Sense Center, found the SGLT1 receptor — which transports sugars into cells only when sodium is present — on sweet taste cells on the tongues of mice. This could explain why sweetness is accentuated by salt — the receptors are activated when salt accompanies sugar. source

An intestinal glucose sensor also found to be located in the sweet-sensitive taste cells may provide an explanation for another mystery of sweet taste: why just a pinch of table salt tastes sweet or salt added to baked goods enhances sweet taste. Known as SGLT1, this sensor is a transporter that moves glucose into the sweet taste cell when sodium is present, thus triggering the cell to register sweetness. source

So a sprinkle of salt actually makes sweet tastes a little sweeter? Yes! Count me in!

I do realize that this particular blog post is a bit of a departure from my normal posts, but I thought it was interesting in light of the resurgence of salted things in our world. Remember when salt was bad?? HAHA.

I'll return tomorrow with a Wedding Wednesday post. But until then, enjoy salt and your sweets too!


  1. I'm not OCD (just look at my disaster of a(n) ... office, closet, car, etc) but I think my stomach is OCD. If I eat something salty, my next food has to be sweet. If I eat something acidic, my next option must be more of a base. I go crazy if I eat too much of one thing without balancing it out in some way.

    No reason for me to tell you that. It's just a recent observation I've made.

  2. You forgot French fries & ice cream (specifically Wendy's Frosty) - the absolute best sweet & salty combo!

  3. and this is exactly why love peanut butter + chocolate together! especially when the pb is more on the salty side. yum!

    jenn @ hello, rigby!


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