Isopoda Teabag グソクムシのティーバッグ

Inside the teabag is Chinese tea from Taiwan

Scientists Discover ‘Sixth Taste’ – and It Could Explain Our Love of Pasta, Potatoes and Bread

Emma Mills wrote . . . . .

The desire to delve into a whopping great bowl of pasta or devour a huge bag of crisps comes to many of us – and now scientists believe they have discovered a “sixth taste” which could be fuelling our carb cravings.

Until now, it was believed that humans could only detect five different primary tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and, added to the list seven years ago, umami. But now researchers claim we’re capable of tasting a “starchy” flavour too.

Juyun Lim, Associate Professor of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University, conducted the research, which suggests that our palate can detect carbohydrates founds in foods such as pasta, potatoes and bread.

“Every culture has a major source of complex carbohydrate. The idea that we can’t taste what we’re eating doesn’t make sense,” she told New Scientist.

To test the sixth-taste theory, Dr Lim and her team dissolved different levels of carbohydrates in liquid solutions and gave them to 22 participants who were asked to rate how each tasted.

“They called the taste ‘starchy’,” Dr Lim said.

Previously, many scientists believed that humans could only taste the sugar in carbohydrates, as enzymes in our saliva break starch molecules into simple sugars, leaving a sweet taste in our mouths.

But even when volunteers were given a compound to block the saliva enzyme and sweet receptors, they were still able to taste the starch – which suggests humans can pick up on a starchy flavour before it has been broken down into sugar.

“Asians would say it was rice-like, while Caucasians described it as bread-like or pasta-like,” she added.

Sugar tastes great in the short term, but if you’re offered chocolate and bread, you’d choose the bread in larger amounts

Dr Lim was unable to find receptors on the tongue which specifically detect starchy flavours, which means it can’t currently be declared as a primary taste, but she believes it would be a useful flavour for humans to be able to detect naturally as carbs are a good source of slow-releasing energy.

“I believe that’s why people prefer complex carbs,” she said.

Source: The Telegraph

Chicken Lasagna


10-12 sheets lasagna
3 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
6 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 chicken stock (bouillon) cube
10 oz cooked chicken, chopped
4-1/2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for the topping


  1. Put the lasagna sheets in a deep oblong dish and cover with boiling water. Add a pinch of salt and a few drops of oil, cover and cook on full power for 10 minutes. Allow to stand, covered, while you make the sauce.
  2. Put the butter in a bowl and cook on full power for 1 minute. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook on full power for 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and oregano and cook on full power for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour and gradually add the milk, stirring. Crumble on the stock (bouillon) cube. Cook on full power for 3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Stir in the chicken and cheese and cook on full power for 1 minute. Keep warm.
  4. Drain the lasagna and lay the sheets out on a tea towel.
  5. In an oiled oblong dish, layer the pasta and sauce until both are used up. Start with a layer of pasta and end with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on the top and cook on medium power for 5 minutes, turning the dish once. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Italian Cooking

In Pictures: Dishes of Italian Restaurants in Shibuya, Japan

Use it or Lose it: Study Shows Stopping Exercise Decreases Brain Blood Flow

We all know that we can quickly lose cardiovascular endurance if we stop exercising for a few weeks, but what impact does the cessation of exercise have on our brains? New research led by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers examined cerebral blood flow in healthy, physically fit older adults (ages 50-80 years) before and after a 10-day period during which they stopped all exercise. Using MRI brain imaging techniques, they found a significant decrease in blood flow to several brain regions, including the hippocampus, after they stopped their exercise routines.

“We know that the hippocampus plays an important role in learning and memory and is one of the first brain regions to shrink in people with Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr. J. Carson Smith, associate professor of kinesiology and lead author of the study, which is published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience in August 2016. “In rodents, the hippocampus responds to exercise training by increasing the growth of new blood vessels and new neurons, and in older people, exercise can help protect the hippocampus from shrinking. So, it is significant that people who stopped exercising for only 10 days showed a decrease in blood flow to brain regions that are important for maintaining cognitive health.”

The study participants were all “master athletes,” defined as people between the ages of 50 and 80 (average age was 61) who have at least 15 years history of participating in endurance exercise and who have recently competed in an endurance event. Their exercise regimens must have entailed at least four hours of high intensity endurance training each week. On average, they were running ~36 miles (59 km) each week or the equivalent of a 10K run a day! Not surprisingly, this group had a V02 max above 90% for their age. This is a measure of the maximal rate of oxygen consumption of an individual and reflects their aerobic physical fitness.

Dr. Smith and colleagues measured the velocity of blood flow in brain with an MRI scan while they were still following their regular training routine (at peak fitness) and again after 10 days of no exercise. They found that resting cerebral blood flow significantly decreased in eight brain regions, including the areas of the left and right hippocampus and several regions known to be part of the brain’s “default mode network” – a neural network known to deteriorate quickly with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. This information adds to the growing scientific understanding of the impact of physical activity on cognitive health.

“We know that if you are less physically active, you are more likely to have cognitive problems and dementia as you age,” says Dr. Smith. “However, we did not find any evidence that cognitive abilities worsened after stopping exercising for just 10 days. But the take home message is simple – if you do stop exercising for 10 days, just as you will quickly lose your cardiovascular fitness, you will also experience a decrease in blood brain flow.”

Dr. Smith believes that this could have important implications for brain health in older adults, and points to the need for more research to understand how fast these changes occur, what the long term effects could be, and how fast they could be reversed when exercise is resumed.

Source: University System of Maryland

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