Why do people wince when they taste sour food?

Try this: Take a lemon, peel it, and eat it without making a face. You can do it? No, probably not. How does a fist-sized lemon have the power to make your facial muscles move against your will?

The grimace reaction when eating sour is an instinct that signals the body to be careful and consider whether to eat or not.

Paul Breslin, professor of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, says the taste we call sour has a direct relationship with acidity. The grimace when eating sour can be related to 3 factors including protons, vitamin C and the habit of eating fruit from human ancestors when living in trees.

The taste we call “sour” has a direct relationship with acidity. Chemically, sour is when your taste buds say “there’s a lot of liquid protons in your mouth right now!” Of course, protons aren’t really sour. Research shows that our organs have evolved to interpret properties that are sour.

Why do people wince when they taste sour food?
The grimace of a sour face is a kind of rejection reaction.

To survive, humans need to eat ascorbic acid , also known as vitamin C. This is needed to keep many of our cells and tissues working properly. Without enough, people can get scurvy (a vitamin C deficiency disease), a disease that can be fatal.

Unfortunately most organisms can make their own vitamin C, but we can’t. About 61 million years ago, genes encoding vitamin C synthesis in mammals were mutated, according to a 2011 study in the journal Genetica. Later on, we had such easy access to dietary vitamin C that mutations did not occur.

“Humans have lost the ability to make their own vitamin C because we get so much of it from fruit,” says Paul Breslin, professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Modern man really enjoys sourness in the right context. In fruits like apples and oranges, the sweet and sour taste creates balance and causes us to consume vitamin C. On the salty side, sour can indicate fermentation, which has been present throughout the evolutionary journey. human evolution.

If sour foods are delicious and good for humans, then why does lemon make us wince?

That grimace is a kind of rejection response , or a response that signals to ourselves and others,” Breslin says.

Scientists can speculate what that signal might be, but they don’t know for sure.

“Most of the fruits that we eat are not super sour. People won’t spontaneously eat a whole lemon.”

At least most people wouldn’t eat like that. But if they do, at least they won’t get scurvy.

Not all sour foods make you sick, but some sour foods should not be put in your mouth, such as fermented foods, expired milk, etc. A grimace can be an excessive warning by the body to try to remind you. reminds us that the food we are eating is very acidic so consider avoiding them.