Science - June 23, 2005

Slow chewing makes fries taste better

Do you like French fries? Next time you go to the snack bar, make sure you take at least two seconds for each chewing motion. This way you will get maximum enjoyment out of your calorie-rich meal, according to PhD research done by Wilko van Loon.

He did research on the compounds in French fries that are responsible for the taste of this food. His analyses revealed that there are 122 of these different compounds that arise from the reactions of sugars in the potato during frying and from the reactions with fats. Van Loon also asked test subjects to smell the flavours separately, which they labelled as ‘sweaty odour’, ‘chemical’ or ‘grassy’. The researcher then got subject to eat French fries while an instrument in their nasal cavity recorded a number of flavours that were released. The subjects who chewed slowly, with about one motion per second, showed the highest level of flavours released from the pulp in their mouths. / WK

Wilko van Loon receives his PhD on 24 June. His supervisor is Professor Fons Voragen, chair of Food Chemistry.

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