Gustatory effects of probiotics?
May 7, 2015 12:20 PM   Subscribe

I started recently on probiotics and find that my sense of taste has gotten better for some reason.

Is there any evidence, anecdotal or not, talking about the phenomenon? Does this exist as a stable phenomenon which is documented, in other words? Any scientific study of the phenomenon, if it is documented? Any assertion that the phenomenon doesn't exist, anything like that? Journal links would be best, but I'll take anything. Either gustation or olfaction effects.
posted by curuinor to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: "is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota" looks like a fascinating article--! Maybe it's time to put down the sauerkraut and ask yourself, who is in charge of this superorganism anyway? ;)
posted by feets at 3:29 PM on May 7, 2015

Response by poster: Ah, not to threadsit but this is very cool, from that paper:

Food preferences are thought to arise from a complex interaction between genes, environment, and culture. The modern food environment is vastly different from that of our evolutionary ancestors: the human ancestral diet is thought to contain foods far lower in salt, simple carbohydrates, and saturated fat than the typical Western diet. This discordance, or environmental mismatch, has been cited as the source of “diseases of civilization,” including obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Similar logic postulates that past scarcity of calorie dense foods and critical micronutrients has also shaped modern food preferences.

The traditional diet of pre-agricultural humans relied on low-carbohydrate plant foods and game, low in fat. Among hunter gatherers, food acquisition efforts have been shown to prioritize energy dense foods, gathered in a pattern that maximizes energy capture relative to energy expenditure. This strategy, described as optimal foraging theory, is fitness enhancing in an environment where energy dense foods were rare and hard to acquire. Under this hypothesis, in the modern food environment with abundant food and sedentary lifestyles, once-adaptive physiologic mechanisms regulating energy intake and expenditure have gone awry, leading to overeating and obesity.

Despite the intuitive appeal of this hypothesis, a number of food preferences and cravings are not in accord with its predictions. For example, one of the most common modern cravings involves a food that ancient hominids never knew and which fulfills no nutritional requirement: chocolate . The hypothesis that environmental mismatch explains diseases caused by diet has also been criticized by others as overly simplistic.

posted by curuinor at 5:01 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

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