Put your hands up if you’re guilty of eating several handfuls of caramel corn, biting into one too many chocolate covered sea salt-caramels or dipping a salty French fry into a vanilla milkshake…
Well, don’t feel guilty. It turns out that this delectable pair isn’t just feeding into your daily calorie count. In fact, there’s a reason putting sweet and salty together is so addicting so put your science goggles on and get ready to learn.
As most of you already know, the tongue can sense all five tastes (sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and savory). Each of our tastebuds has 50-100 taste cells that respond to all of these different flavors.
Anyways, scientists recently discovered that sugar receptors that were previously thought to only exist in the gut actually exist on sweet taste cells on the tongue, too (sorry for all the science talk).
The flavor layer effect says that the combo of two delish flavors (such as sweet and salty) yields a delight two times greater than one flavor alone. On top of that, salt is a flavor enhancer so the salt actually enhances the sugar flavor.
I don’t know about you, but now that I can use science as an excuse for this addiction, it’s time to stock up on sea salt caramels, peppermint bark popcorn, and salted toffee brittle before you’re stuck in your dorm room all winter long.