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Some answers to reader questions

By Sun Advocate

2017 is a new year so we will start with some new questions from readers.
Q1- Lisa from Price asks, “Why does toothpaste make orange juice taste awful?”
A1- It all has to do with tastebuds. Your tongue is lined with thousands of tastebuds, the little pieces of tissue that pick up chemical signals from food and drink and interpret what they are. Your tastebuds have hundreds of different receptors that can determine a flavor by how the food or drink’s chemicals bind with them in one of five specific genres. Those are Sour, Salty, Sweet, Bitter and Umani. All food is made up of chemicals and those chemicals have specific shapes that can bind with the corresponding receptor on your tastebud. So chocolate binds in a specific way and hummus another.
Sometimes we put certain chemicals in our mouths that trick our taste receptors. One food in toothpaste, a detergent called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS is the culprit behind the awful taste. These SLS’s end up suppressing the receptors that code for sweetness and destroy phospholipids in our saliva that suppress bitterness. So when you drink orange juice after brushing your teeth you are missing all the good sweetness and getting a mouthful of bitter.
Q2- Ashlyn from Price asks, “Are microwaves bad for you?”
A2- Well, that depends. Are you the one in the microwave? If not then no, microwaves are not “bad” for you. I think I understand the question your meaning to ask, “Is microwave radiation harmful if you use it to cook?” The answer is still no and we should probably clear up that there is a distinction between radiation and being radioactive. Microwave radiation is simply a specific frequency in which a wave is traveling, certain waves carry lots of energy. Microwave ovens emit this wavelength which just so happens to have a huge effect on water molecules and not much else. As the energy of the microwaves hit your food it causes the water molecules to start moving and the faster they move the hotter they become, therefore cooking your food. Once the microwave is turned off, that’s it, no more energy, the only thing left is the quickly moving water molecules zooming around in your food, safe and delicious.
Q3- Daniel from Logan asks, “Can I taste with any other body parts?”
A3- Wow, what to you do with your spare time Daniel? Well this is a fascinating question because the answer is…kinda. I’ll give you an experiment you can conduct right now that will give you the answer. Get one glove of garlic and cut it in half, now take those pieces and put them in plastic bags and tape those bags around your feet. Now rub the garlic inside those bags around the bottoms of you feet and wait about 30 minutes. Go do that now, I’ll wait… Cool right? Now thats not you actually tasting with your feet but a chemical inside the garlic called Allicin which can slip into your bloodstream and travel to your nose and mouth causing the sensation of garlic. Awesome right?
As always, keep reading and doing your own research to get better and more complete answers to these questions.

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