Navigating the New Mandate: Reducing Salt and Sugar in School Lunches


April 30, 20240


In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of healthy eating habits, particularly among children and adolescents. Recognizing the critical role of nutrition in shaping young minds and bodies, policymakers have taken steps to improve the quality of meals served in schools across the nation. One such initiative comes from the Biden-Harris administration, which has introduced a mandate aimed at reducing both salt and sugar in school lunches. For food manufacturers supplying to school cafeterias, this presents both challenges and opportunities. In this blog, we explore the implications of this mandate and offer guidance on how food manufacturers can adapt to meet the new requirements while still delivering delicious and nutritious meals to students.

Understanding the Mandate:

The Biden-Harris administration’s mandate to reduce salt and sugar in school lunches is part of a broader effort to promote healthier eating habits and combat the prevalence of diet-related health issues among children. Excessive salt and sugar intake have been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and other health problems, making them primary targets for intervention. The mandate sets specific targets for sodium and sugar levels in school meals, aiming to gradually decrease the amount of these ingredients added to foods served to students.

Challenges for Food Manufacturers:

For food manufacturers, adjusting to the new mandate may pose several challenges. Traditional recipes and formulations may need to be modified to reduce sodium and sugar content without compromising taste or texture. This requires careful experimentation and testing to find the right balance of flavors and ingredients. Additionally, manufacturers must ensure that their products meet the nutritional requirements set forth by the mandate while still being appealing to young palates.

Opportunities for Innovation:

Despite the challenges, the mandate to reduce salt and sugar in school lunches also presents opportunities for innovation and creativity. Food manufacturers can use this as an opportunity to develop new recipes and products that prioritize health without sacrificing flavor. By exploring alternative seasonings, sweeteners, and flavor enhancers, manufacturers can create exciting culinary experiences that appeal to students and meet the nutritional guidelines set by the mandate.

Collaboration with Schools and Nutrition Experts:

To successfully navigate the transition to lower-sodium and lower-sugar school lunches, food manufacturers should collaborate closely with schools and nutrition experts. By understanding the specific dietary needs and preferences of students, manufacturers can tailor their products to better align with school meal programs. Additionally, seeking input from nutritionists and dietitians can provide valuable insights into how to optimize the nutritional content of school meals while still ensuring they are delicious and satisfying.

Investing in Research and Development:

As food manufacturers work to reformulate their products to meet the new sodium and sugar targets, investing in research and development will be key. This may involve conducting taste tests, consumer surveys, and nutritional analyses to gather feedback and refine recipes. By dedicating resources to R&D, manufacturers can stay ahead of the curve and continue to deliver high-quality, nutritious foods that meet the evolving needs of schools and students.


The mandate to reduce salt and sugar in school lunches represents a significant shift in the way food is prepared and served in educational settings. While this may present challenges for food manufacturers, it also offers opportunities for innovation and collaboration. By working closely with schools, nutrition experts, and investing in research and development, manufacturers can adapt to meet the new requirements while still providing delicious and nutritious meals that support the health and well-being of students. Let’s seize this opportunity to create positive change and shape a brighter, healthier future for the next generation.


March 27, 20240

Unveiling the MSG Mystery: A Journey Through Flavor, Health, and Options

Hey there, fellow food enthusiasts! Today, we’re embarking on a flavorful exploration into the realm of MSG—monosodium glutamate. If you’ve ever pondered the magic behind your favorite dishes or questioned the buzz surrounding this mysterious ingredient, join us as we uncover the savory secrets of MSG.

Getting to Know MSG

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is like the hidden gem of the culinary world. Discovered over a century ago by a savvy chemist in Japan, it’s the unsung hero that adds an extra dose of yum to your meals. You might spot it in your pantry, disguised as a fine white powder, ready to work its flavor-enhancing magic.

Why Chefs Swear by MSG

Imagine biting into a juicy burger or slurping a steaming bowl of soup, and suddenly, your taste buds come alive with flavor. That’s the power of MSG. It’s the secret weapon in every chef’s arsenal, elevating dishes from good to downright irresistible. With its ability to enhance savory notes and deepen flavors, it’s no wonder chefs can’t get enough of it.

Tasting the Umami Goodness

But what does MSG actually taste like? Well, on its own, it’s pretty mild—almost like a culinary chameleon. But when it joins the party in your cooking, it’s like adding a burst of savory goodness that takes your taste buds on a flavor-filled adventure. Umami, here we come!

Navigating the MSG Controversy

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room—the controversy swirling around MSG. Some folks claim it gives them headaches or leaves them feeling off-kilter, but the jury’s still out on that one. While organizations like the FDA and WHO consider it generally safe for consumption, everyone’s palate is different. If you’re sensitive, it might be worth treading lightly.

Can MSG Tip the Scale?

So, does MSG have a dark side when it comes to weight gain? MSG itself isn’t a calorie bomb, but it’s often found in foods that are, well, downright delicious. And let’s face it—when something tastes that good, it’s easy to go back for seconds (or thirds). Plus, it tends to cozy up to processed and restaurant foods, which can pack a punch in the calorie department. So, it’s not about the MSG itself but more about the company it keeps.

Exploring Alternatives

For those seeking alternatives or wanting to shake things up, fear not! There’s a world of flavor waiting to be explored. From yeast extracts to soy sauce to mushroom powders, there are plenty of options to add that umami kick without the MSG baggage. It’s all about finding what tickles your taste buds.

In Summary: Finding Balance

At the end of the day, MSG is like the seasoning of life—it’s all about balance. A sprinkle here and there can take your cooking to new heights, but too much of a good thing? Well, that’s a recipe for disaster. So, embrace the flavor, experiment with alternatives, and most importantly, savor every delicious moment!

Here’s to exploring the wonderful world of flavor, one savory dish at a time!


February 26, 20243

Last month, we talked about plant protein covering the different types, how it is processed, the health benefits, and how it tastes. If you missed it, click here to read The Truth About Plant Protein – Part 1. This month, Part 2, focuses on the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of plant protein.

Plant protein is typically sold in powder form and mixed with water or milk to make a shake. Texture and temperature are the easiest ways to improve the taste. First, you need to start with the right tools. Because plant protein powders can be gritty, and some do not dissolve as well, you need to blend it very well. A drink bottle or shaker will not cut it. Try mixing your protein powder using a blender, a stick blender, or a food processor. This will make your beverage smooth without the gritty mouthfeel. The colder the temperature of the protein beverage, the more palatable it may be and the more aromatic compounds are less noticeable. The smell of the beverage will be a little more pleasing, which improves the overall tasting experience.

Another way to improve the taste is to sweeten it with artificial sweeteners. Many manufacturers of protein powders do this to improve the taste. They contain few, if any, calories. However, they can provide an overpowering or intense sweetness which leaves an unpleasant aftertaste. You might want to try your own natural sweetener, such as honey, agave, or maple syrup to improve the taste in your protein beverage.

The traditional way to have protein powder is to mix it with water. You can also try milk or fruit juice to give it a little more taste and flavor. There are several ways to consume protein powder other than a shake or beverage. You can add it to yogurt, baked goods, oatmeal, smoothies, soups, and sauces.

If you are a manufacturer of plant-based protein powders, we should talk. At LifeWise, we offer several products that smooth out the flavor profile, mask cardboard notes, enhance a fatty mouthfeel, reduce sugar, and more. Check out the many ways you can apply our flavor modifiers in your products by clicking here. Make sure to request a sample of any of the products you would like to try.

High-protein meals give you energy to change the world. – Protein Chefs


January 30, 20241

Protein is essential to life and nourishes many of the body’s systems. A protein-rich diet holds benefits for weight management, appetite, and blood sugar control. More than ever, consumers are looking to add more protein to their daily diet. However, they are not necessarily looking to add more meat and poultry for many reasons, but rather they are looking to add more plant-based foods. Soy was the frontrunner of plant proteins for many years. We now have many more plant protein options available to us, such as: nuts and seeds, nut butters, peas, beans, broccoli, chickpeas, greens, lentils, quinoa, and more. Not only do we have many more options, but it is also much more accessible in all grocery stores rather than having to visit a health food store. So, what is the magic ingredient in plants? Plants contain fiber, and most contain both soluble and insoluble fiber in varying amounts. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and includes plant pectin and gums. Whereas insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and includes plant cellulose and hemicellulose.

Both types of fiber are important for a healthy diet. According to Healthline, the right amount of fiber can help with many of the following health issues:

    • Control body weight
    • Supports gut health
    • Control and possibly prevent hypertension
    • Help balance cholesterol levels in the blood
    • Regulate bowel movements and prevent hemorrhoids
    • Regulate blood sugar
    • Regulate your body’s satiation signals, which let you know when you’re full
    • Lower risk of colon and breast cancers
    • Lower risk of diabetes
    • Require more chewing, which slows down your meals and aids digestion

This is all great news for our health, but how is the taste? The more insoluble fiber a plant contains, the more that it will taste like dirt. Today, most protein powders are made with protein concentrates and isolates, which is food stripped of everything but protein. Without fats and carbs, these isolates can have an unpleasant chalky aftertaste. Processing can alter the structure of the protein which causes a chalky mouthfeel. Most protein powders are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or stevia which are way sweeter than sugar. A little goes a long way. Some protein powders also have a bitter aftertaste because artificial sweeteners and stevia activate our bitter taste receptions in addition to the sweet taste receptors. Dirt, chalky, gritty, and bitter? Yuck! While it might be healthy, it sure doesn’t sound very appetizing… Check back next month and we will share how you can avoid some of the taste pitfalls, and improve the taste, texture, and mouthfeel.


December 31, 20231

On New Year’s Day, many different traditions are observed all over the world in hopes for good luck, health, and happiness in the New Year. These range from recognizing superstitions to eating certain foods for good luck.

It is believed in the Philippines that if you jump up in the air as high as you can after midnight on New Year’s Eve, you will grow taller in the New Year. I wish I had heard of this one before! Others do not wash clothes or clean the house on New Year’s Day for fear that they may wash away good luck that is headed their way. In Greece, people hang onions on their front doors as a symbol of rebirth or new growth. In China and Portugal, they don’t put their purses on the floor because it is believed to be bad luck that will bring money problems in the New Year.

As long as I can remember, my family has always shared a “lucky dinner” on New Year’s Day. This is a southern tradition in the United States that dates back to the Civil War. My great-grandma made this dinner, as did my grandma, my mom, and I try to do it for my family and friends each year. Here’s some background on each of the food items that make up this special dinner:

Pork – We enjoy a pork roast or pork barbecue as part of our dinner. In many countries the pig represents progress. Some say it is because pigs never move backwards. Others believe it’s all in their feeding habits because they push their snouts forward along the ground when rooting for food.

Black-eyed peas – In the Southern United States, eating black-eyed peas is thought to bring prosperity in the New Year. The peas are typically cooked with a pork product for flavoring (such as bacon, fatback, ham bones, or hog jowls) and diced onion, and served with a hot chili sauce or a pepper-flavored vinegar.

Sauerkraut – This is a German tradition that is thought to bring blessings of wealth for the New Year. Traditionally, those partaking in the meal would wish each other as much wealth and goodness as the number of shreds of cabbage in the sauerkraut. It is also thought to reduce or avoid any bitterness in the New Year.

Collard Greens – Their color and appearance represent paper money. Belief has it, the more you eat, the more prosperous you’ll be (and healthier too!). Collard greens are often prepared similarly to the black-eyed peas with some pork, onions and a pepper flavored vinegar. Absolutely delicious. I encourage you to try them if you’ve never had them. I look forward to them every year.

Cornbread – is said to bring good fortune. The color represents gold. In addition, the corn represents grain and good luck that you will have food to feed you and your family in the New Year. Sometimes people add extra corn kernels which are emblematic of gold nuggets.

Some other lucky foods and traditions are to eat:

Grapes – This is also a Spanish tradition. Just like Americans drink champagne and grab a kiss at the stroke of midnight, people in Spain eat 12 grapes. They are supposed to eat one grape for every chime the clock makes when striking midnight. Not an easy task! The 12 grapes represent the upcoming 12 months. You are supposed to pay attention to the taste of each grape. If you have a bitter grape, you need to watch out for the month that grape represents. Wishing you 12 sweet grapes!

Ring-shaped cake – It is believed that eating a ring-shaped cake will bring a circle of luck for the following year. It symbolizes coming full circle. In some traditions, a coin is baked into the cake which is believed to bring an extra serving of good luck to the person who finds it. In addition, the spice cake adds a little “spice” to your New Year.

Pomegranates – They are considered a lucky food in Turkey. Their red color, which resembles the human heart, denotes life and fertility; their medicinal properties represent health; and their abundant, round seeds, represent prosperity – all things everyone hopes for in a fresh start. In Greece, people hurl the whole pomegranates to the floor to release a flood of seeds that symbolize life and abundance.

A few others are to eat the whole fish (with head and tail), oranges and tangerines, pickled herring, dumplings, lentils, and even long noodles.

Just a fun tidbit, in pre-Christian Rome under the Julian calendar, the first day of January, New Year’s Day, was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named.

What are your New Year traditions? Please feel free to share!

Wishing you lots of GOOD LUCK in the New Year!



September 30, 20230

Fall is in the air! It’s a favored season by many with the cooler weather and colorful fall leaves. It is also a time for favorite seasonings!

The first thing my mother wants to know when the weather starts changing is when she can get a Pumpkin Spice Latte!! Well, it’s not all “pumpkin and spice” anymore. And, some of these flavors don’t just pertain to fall or even to coffee for that matter. There are quite a few others to consider, such as apple, caramel, cranberry, fig, maple, hazelnut, and pecan. Top any one of these off with some salty pretzels, savory bacon and/or robust spices like cinnamon, rosemary or nutmeg, and well… your senses will be screaming fall! These flavors are showing up in milkshakes, craft cocktails, smoothies, desserts, pancakes, and so much more!

Why do we crave all of these flavors? Some say it’s your brain’s way of coping and bracing for the upcoming cooler season ahead. Scarcity creates demand since many of these flavors are only experienced during the fall season. According to perception researchers at Johns Hopkins University, it’s the powerful scent. The smell of autumn flavors often trigger familiar and cozy memories creating a national nostalgia and increased desire to reunite with the upcoming season. The smell of pumpkin reminds us of Thanksgiving. Scientists say that our sense of taste actually starts with our sense of smell. The parts of the brain that process odor are very close to the parts of the brain that process memory information. We are drawn to pumpkin-flavored items and other similarly nostalgic products because they remind us of moments in our lives that make us happy and bring us comfort, says Dr. Zishan Khan, a psychiatrist with Mindpath Health. Whatever it is, it’s amazing, it tantalizes my senses and it is GOOD!

Here are a few seasonal favorites and the establishments that provide them…

  • You can get a pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin coffee at 7-11.
  • Bob Evans Restaurants has a caramel apple breakfast menu to put a twist on their classics.
  • Caribou Coffee offers 15 different beverages from their extensive pumpkin spice menu!
  • If you love ice cream, Culvers offers a pumpkin pecan fresh frozen custard, Salted Caramel Pumpkin Concrete Mixer, and a Pumpkin Spice Shake. Oh my!
  • Dairy Queen has a Blizzard menu featuring Pumpkin Pie and Snickerdoodle, and several others.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts partnered with actor Ben Affleck and rapper Ice Spice for their new Ice Spice Munchkins drink. They merge frozen Dunkin’ coffee with Munchkins pumpkin-cake donut holes, and top it off with whipped cream and a dribble of caramel.
  • Wendy’s has a Pumpkin Spice Frosty and a Cream Cold Brew with the same flavors.
  • Starbucks introduced the world to pumpkin spice latte two decades ago! Some say that fall doesn’t start till they have the first sip of this famous and limited latte. Of course, Starbucks also offers so many more fall flavors like Iced Apple Crisp Oat Milk Shaken Espresso. That’s a mouth full!

Whatever your fall pleasure, I hope you enjoy it! “Go big or gourd home!”


August 31, 20230

It’s back to school time and that means back to packing daily school lunches again. The primary things we focus on when packing school lunches for our children is that we want them to be healthy and balanced, keep the costs reasonable, and make the process as easy as possible. We’ve compiled some tips for you to do this very thing.

According to Raising Children, healthy food for school lunches come from five healthy food groups: vegetables, fruit, grains, reduced-fat dairy, and protein. These foods have the nutrients needed that are important for a child’s growth, development, and learning. Your lunch provides you with the fuel to keep running at your top capacity. It’s what gets you through your afternoon.

Here’s a rule of thumb you can follow…

  • Use a variety of fruits and veggies such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, berries, applesauce, carrots or cucumbers with dip, cherry tomatoes, green salad, and bell pepper strips. These give your child energy, vitamins, anti-oxidants, fiber and water. They also help to fight off diseases later in life such as heart disease, stroke and some cancers. This should make up half of the lunch.
  • Include healthy protein sources such as rotisserie chicken, chicken salad, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, hummus and chick-peas, cottage cheese, beans, edamame, and Greek yogurt. These foods are important for your child’s growth and muscle development.
  • Pack a variety of grains such as quinoa, whole grain pasta, cereal, couscous, polenta, trail mix, granola, pasta salad, and whole grain muffins. Grain foods with a low glycemic index will give your child longer lasting energy and keep them feeling fuller longer.
  • Reduced-fat dairy such as milk and yogurt should be included. Compared to dairy made with whole milk, low-fat varieties provide less saturated fat, more protein, and less calories. Fat is critical for brain development in the first two years of life, but after this period of brain growth, children don’t require such a large amount of fat in their diets.
  • Healthy fats may also be included, but only a small portion.

Foods that should be avoided are salty, fatty and sugary food items, low-fiber foods, processed snacks, and drinks with caffeine or a lot of sugar.  It’s important to reduce the saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium.

Here are some ideas to pack in your child’s lunch, according to Strong4Life…

  • Homemade Lunchables
  • Chicken and guacamole
  • Pasta salad with grains and veggies
  • Nut butter cracker sandwiches
  • Chicken salad
  • Deconstructed tacos
  • Ham and cheese rollup
  • Leftover pasta

You also want to make sure you are not doing the same thing every day that burns you and your child out. Afterall, we want them to eat the lunch you prepared. Instead of always using bread to make a sandwich, try using wraps, lettuce leaves, tortillas, flatbreads, bagels, English muffins or pita bread. Try new fruits and vegetables too. Create a rainbow of colors!

Here are some tips for packing a healthy lunch:

  • Plan ahead of time.
  • Use leftovers from a healthy dinner.
  • Don’t pack foods your child doesn’t like.
  • Pack the lunch early.
  • Pack multiple lunches for a couple of days at a time instead of one each day.
  • Consider packing water or homemade fruit-infused water instead of sugary drinks or juices.
  • Let the kids help you make the lunches.
  • Pack a frozen milk, yogurt or water to keep the lunch box cool.
  • Use a freezable lunch bag to keep food cool.

Statistics show that kids who eat a healthy lunch achieve better grades, learn healthy eating habits, avoid the obesity battle and perform better in sports. If you need ideas, search the Internet for healthy school lunches or look on Pinterest. I was surprised to see how many easy to make and healthy choices there are out there.

Good luck with the school year and pack the cool!


July 31, 20230

The newest taste buzz is Kokumi! We all know the “Big Five Tastes” – Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Umami. Well, Kokumi is said to the be the newest taste sensation and potentially the sixth taste on our pallet. While it doesn’t have a taste of its own, it does provide a rich texture. Kokumi is a Japanese word which roughly translates to “rich taste” and/or “rich mouthfeel.” It’s kind of like the experience you get from drinking skim milk versus whole milk. You get a much richer and fuller taste drinking whole milk. It leaves a coating on your tongue and makes foods taste richer. It also rounds out sweet, salty and umami tastes.

Scientists have found that the Kokumi sensation is not owed to one molecule, but rather depends on an interaction or activation between various receptors and peptides. Researchers with the Ajinomoto Group managed to determine the chain of amino acids responsible for the sensation of kokumi, noticing that calcium receptors are activated by kokumi foods. As a result of the activation, the signals to the brain regarding textural mouthfeel, complexity, and duration of flavors are magnified. The Ajinomoto Group was then able to isolate the compound and create a powder that can be added to food, increasing its richness, roundness, and savoriness. A heightened experience of kokumi can be created by adding the powder to foods. However, it is also naturally present in protein-rich foods and fermented food such as alcohol, soy sauce, and fish sauce.

Kokumi has a bright future since it magnifies flavors and increases mouthfeel. The flavors pop and it also balances out flavors like salt does or increases sweetness in reduced sugar products. Imagine something tasting better and having less salt and/or sugar. It would be much healthier. In addition, it can be used to increase flavor in nutritious foods given to malnourished people and make food more appetizing for elderly people who have a diminished taste sensation.

(For more information on tastes, read our previous blog: “How Many Flavors Do We Taste?”)


June 30, 20230

We are experiencing the worst drought in a millennium which is causing a tomato shortage. Tomato prices are up as much as 80% from 2021, and very limited supply means the product may not even be on shelves for those willing to pay a higher price.

Tomato paste, which is the foundational component of ketchup, salsa and spaghetti sauce is disappearing from store shelves. US food inflation is already nearing 50-year highs, and this summer’s punishing drought is not helping matters. Farmers growing tomatoes are facing numerous challenges this year, particularly in California where more than 90% of the country’s tomatoes come from.

Coming into the tomato-planting season, inventory across the country was already in short supply because of years of drought, substandard crops and growers’ focusing on their other commodities, said Mike Montna, the president of the California Tomato Growers Association. Farmers who conserve rainwater to irrigate their fields used to be able to allocate three to four feet of water for every acre of farmland, but now only have three to four inches to use per acre. Therefore, farmers are increasingly turning to groundwater reservoirs which are more expensive. The historic drought has led to statewide restrictions in California limiting groundwater use. Many farmers are choosing to cut back on tomato production altogether, focusing on less water-hungry crops that are easier to cultivate in areas with groundwater restrictions and historically low rainfall.

Tomato paste is one of those ingredients so full of flavor that it can make a dish pop. It belongs in various recipes because it blends the umami and sweet tastes that result from cooking tomatoes for a long period of time. Because tomato paste has a strong flavor, most recipes only require a slight amount, so it’s best to buy it in small cans or jars. What happens when you run out of this versatile ingredient and your recipe calls for its unique flavor and texture?

Some like to use tomato sauce as a substitute, but the big difference between paste and sauce is the flavor and texture. Tomato paste is reduced by boiling it until it thickens. It produces a more robust, acidic flavor and a naturally sweet taste. The sauce is lighter, has more liquid, and it may also have added sugar, sweet notes, and other ingredients or flavors like garlic and basil. A rule of thumb is to use 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce for every one tablespoon of tomato paste your recipe calls for. Add the sauce to your recipe. Cook and stir constantly until the sauce has reduced and thickened. If your recipe calls for sugar in it, you might want to substitute ketchup and reduce the amount of sugar your recipe calls for. These are nice substitutes, but they are no match for the flavorful tomato paste.

What do you do if you are a manufacturer of a product that contains tomato paste? Natural flavor modifiers might help. LifeWise Ingredients has two products – P60M and Simply Savor Tomato. They boost the tomato profiles and add back the fresh, bright flavor. In addition, our products help potentiate a stronger tomato flavor which may reduce the amount of tomato paste you need in your applications. Why not click here to reach out for a free sample and try it? At LifeWise, flavor is just the beginning…

A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins. – Laurie Colwin


May 30, 20230

If you Google this question on the internet, you will get a lot of different answers. According to Thomas Hummel, author of the book, “Taste and Smell: An Update,” there are between five and several dozen independently experienced sensations on the tongue. The five most standard, and common flavors in food that are directly detected by the tongue are: sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and savory/meaty (umami).

Taste is one of your most basic senses. It helps you evaluate food and drinks so you can determine what’s safe to eat and prepares your body to digest food. It certainly helped our ancestors to survive.

Taste refers to the perception of the sensory cells in your taste buds. When food compounds activate these sensory cells, your brain detects a taste like sweetness. Flavor, on the other hand, refers to taste and odor. Sensory cells in your nose interact with odor particles and then send messages to your brain.

As mentioned above, there are dozens of others tastes…

Kokumi is a newer flavor that some say will become the sixth standard and common taste. Kokumi translates (from Japanese) to “mouthfulness, and heartiness. This taste has been proclaimed by researchers from the same Japanese food company, Ajinomoto, who helped convince the taste world of the fifth basis taste, umami, a decade ago.

Astringent is a taste that humans perceive. It contains tannins that constrict organic tissue. It causes a puckering sensation that might be described as rubbery, dry or rough. It may also be described as harsh when found in wines. An astringent flavor is typically found in unripe fruit, green apples, rosemary, and lentils.

Cool or hot sensations are not referring to temperature but rather to foods that chemically trigger a sensation that is similar to a cool or hot sensation. For example, a cool sensation may come from mint or menthol, whereas hot sensations may come from spicy peppers. These sensations come from a different set of nerves. In fact, the exposed mucous membranes in the nose and eyes are also affected by these.

A few new ones that are currently being researched by scientists are: alkaline, metallic, and water-like.

Check in to next month’s blog to learn more about the science behind taste and what can affect your sense of taste.

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