Smell of toast 'takes us back to childhood'

Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 14:48 [IST]
 

London, Sept 14 (ANI): The reason as to why many Britons still prefer to start their day with toast has much to do with the subconscious, scientists reveal.

Researchers at Cardiff University's school of biosciences say that toast is often one of the first solid foods we try as children, and so many of us associate the smell and taste with 'comforting' memories.

"We can form these associations with smells at any age," the Daily Mail quoted Professor Tim Jacobs as saying.

"All that's required is a consistent smell, combined with an event powerful enough to pin a given emotion to that particular set of chemicals," he said.

Despite the flood of alternative breakfast choices such as croissants, cereals, yoghurts and waffles, 82 percent of people of Britain simply want toast.

Prof Jacobs, who specialises in the way in which humans perceive taste and smell, said his research showed preference for toast was much stronger in people who had it for breakfast as a child.

"Children's minds are constantly developing. Therefore it's not really surprising to find that people exposed to toast as children have a much stronger affinity for the smell in later life," he said.

"Although that's presuming, of course, that they had a positive experience in their childhoods.

"When bread is toasted, the complex, starchy carbohydrates are broken down into sugars.

"The sugars begin to caramelise with the dry heat, creating the brown colour and distinctive smell, which people seem to find so appetising.

"We've evolved to crave the nutrients held within sugary, salty and protein-rich foods," he added.

The research was commissioned by the Flour Advisory Bureau to understand why toast is such a popular breakfast choice - and to find out if bakers could make bread that was even more appealing. ANI)

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