The Truth About Taste

The Truth About Taste

Saturday | 3pm ET/Noon PT
(Returns June 17)

What if you could get that chocolate cake kick from eating a plate of beans? “The Truth About Taste” sets out to uncover what the newly emerging science of taste could do for us.

Taste is one of our most primal senses, intimately linked to pleasure and enjoyment, yet it is also one of the least understood. Horizon gets to grips with taste, finds out what makes food taste good, and discovers how we can manipulate our food to trick ourselves into favouring healthy options over sweet, fatty foods.

There are five flavours that we can detect soon after birth – sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami (savoury). But the first and most important taste we are hard wired to like is sweet because it signals the calories babies need to stay alive. And the choices we will make later in life are formed at this astonishingly early age.

Are we addicted to the pleasures of taste? Horizon meets Dr Ashley Gerhardt, who runs an addiction lab. She has found that our response to high fat and high sugar foods, products that do not exist in nature, happens in the same area of our brains as if you are taking a drug.

Can we make healthy food taste as good as junk food? The food companies that created the high sugar foods we crave are now researching ways to make food that is still sweet but also healthy. The hunt is on for naturally sweet chemicals that can replace refined sugar and yet still have the same taste.

Finally “The Truth About Taste” finds out about the so called ‘miracle berry’. Head chef Homaro Cantu has produced a pill based on the berry that turns bitter tastes into sweet. Could we substitute these miracle berries for all refined sugars?

It is a fascinating, potentially life changing journey, because if we can understand what happens in our brains from the moment food hits our tongues, we may find a way to make it easy to eat healthily.

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