Have you ever eaten a sour candy and felt like your tongue was being attacked by tiny, sour ninjas? You're not alone. Many people feel the same way after indulging in these tart treats. But have you ever wondered why that happens? Is there a scientific explanation for why our tongues react this way to sour candies? In this article, we'll explore the sour truth behind why sour candy hurts your tongue.
Exploring the Science of Taste Buds
Before diving into what makes sour candy so painful to eat, let's first take a quick look at taste buds. Our sense of taste is incredibly complex and includes flavors such as sweet, salty, bitter, umami (savory), and of course - sour. Taste buds are located on our tongues and differentiate between different flavors by sending signals to our brains through nerves.
While each taste bud can detect all five flavors mentioned above they predominate one or two types) specialized groups help us distinguish specific tastes better than others; hence some people crave more sweets while others saltier things.
So What Makes Sour Candy Hurt?
Believe it or not but acids cause harm/enhaming nature/tooth decay and low oral pH levels can be detrimental to everything from enamel erosion leading teeth sensitivity issues/cavities/root canal treatments/fillings/complete loss etc./create physical pain when enough strain occurs). Some popular acid releasing sugar sources used in many kinds including candies drinks/type beyond common ones(e.g., fruit juices) include citric acid malic acid fumaric acid lactic acid tartrate other various organic salts which produce lower Ph levels with higher acidity [with areas below < 5.] )
Sour candies contain high levels of acids (often using extracts like citric or Malic Acid) that cause irritation to the sensitive skin lining around our mouth (gums, cheeks and tongue) hence leading to slurths of spittle production (a gland response acting as a cooling system trying to make up for the initial disturbance inside our oral cavity). The higher acidity in sour candies may even damage tooth enamel if consumed frequently or in large amounts.
Why Do We Like Sour Candy?
Now that we've discussed why sour candy can cause discomfort let's talk about why we enjoy eating it anyway! Despite its potential unpleasantness, many people find themselves craving the tart flavor of sour candies.
One reason is because we associate the tartness with freshness and vitality; just think any citrus flavor orange lemons lime etc.). And since acidic flavors are often associated with fruit taste like strawberry kiwi pomegranate also play a role here too which keep us feeling 'refreshed' after consuming such foods/drinks/sweet treats).
Another reason is simply because our brains find novelty attractive(give an edge against mundane?). When our brain encounters new/tantalizing tastes & sensation it goes abuzz(rather quite literally), releasing feel good chemicals known as dopamine. This same effect can be seen when experiencing other unlikely combinations(e.g., sweet-salty/bitter-sweet/spicy-tangy etc.) -our mind does cartwheels over them all).
The next time you reach for a pack of sour candy just remember what makes it so tart on your tongue- acids!. While they might not always be comfortable to eat/they do hold their place among other pleasures/flavors experiences especially when talking about satisfying your inner child/a desire/change from working through routine dietary choices for variety to life(hakuna matata!).