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SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: Social Security
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Experience:  Senior Information Specialist
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why do this happen: i eat something with lots of capsicum and

Customer Question

why do this happen: i eat something with lots of capsicum and then drink soda and cannot enjoy the soda. though it would be otherwise excellent-tasting, the soda now tastes insufferable. please explain why.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Cher replied 3 years ago.
Hello again, and welcome back to Just Answer.

What you're describing is a reaction caused by sensory overload due to the great amount of capsicum altering the way you perceive the taste of the soda. Not only is it a sensory reaction, but a neurological one as well. Your perception of the sweet flavor of the soda coupled with the carbonation, after your mouth has experienced the terrific heat from the capsicum, is simply altered.

If you consume great amounts of capsicum frequently, it can affect your taste buds in various ways and make sweet things taste salty, etc.

If you need additional information, please let me know by clicking 'Reply'.

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Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 3 years ago.
Capsicum, while used to enhance the "heat flavor" of foods actually acts as an irritant to all tissues of the mouth. When used in things like pepper sprays and riot control this same food ingredient causes a general inflammatory response in large amounts to the mucus membranes of the face. The desired response is achieved when people become distracted to the burning sensation across their face, eyes and mouth....Now, thinking forward..

The lining of the mouth and tongue, esophagus and throat are not immune to this same irritating inflammatory response. In low amounts this is what gives the warmth and heat to the food, in large amounts and those unaccustomed to the heat from capsicum, you create an irritation that effects local tissues - this is the same reason your nose runs and your eyes water while eating hot peppers. The sensation of heat is basically a low level pain response.

The other thing to consider is the actual physiology of taste buds and the effects things like salts and acids have on them, and how that would interfere with taste. In layman's terms taste buds are quite close to being actual neurons, so much so that salt(sodium specifically) has a direct effect on the depolarization(basically a "firing") of the cell itself to tell you "This is salty", slightly different as the taste regions of the tongue are located in different spots. Things like acids, like the the citric and phosphoric acids create an ion gradient in the mouth that gives that perceived taste of tartness or sour flavor on those taste buds.

The probably reason you are not tasting anything or just tasting the feeling of "hot carbonation" is the interference of those taste bud to solution(soda) contact as well as the immediate pain response of the capsicum creating a low level inflammatory response in the mouth from whatever you ate. Basically similar idea of trying to taste your food if someone was blowing cigarette smoke into your face(if you weren't a smoker), you probably wouldn't be able to initially because that smoke is an irritant and would "cloud"(no pun intended), the primary sense from transferring the message of taste, sour, sweet etc..
SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 507
Experience: Senior Information Specialist
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