Taste and flavor (retronasal olfaction) interact in the brain. The rules of that interaction are not well understood. This study uses 2 taste modifiers that alter sweet to examine the effects on flavors. Subjects used the Global Sensory Intensity Scale to assess the aroma, sweetness, sourness, and flavor of 10 foods. As previous work had shown, miracle fruit added sweetness to acids, which secondarily reduced sourness (mixture suppression) and Gymnema sylvestre reduced sweetness in sweet foods as well as the sweetness induced by miracle fruit. In this study, multiple regression showed that both sweet and sour contribute to flavor. Gymnema sylvestre reduced the perceived sweet of predominantly sweet foods (chocolate and maple syrup) as expected; reducing the sweet, reduced the flavor. The effects of miracle fruit were complicated by its dual action: intensification of sweet and reduction of sour. Predominantly sour foods (vinegar, lemon, mustard, pickle) were sweetened by miracle fruit but any flavor enhancement associated with the added sweet appears to have been countered by the flavor reduction associated with reduced sourness. Moderately sour foods that are also sweet (tomatoes, strawberries) were sweetened by miracle fruit and thus flavor was enhanced; flavor loss through sour reduction was apparently not sufficient to counter the flavor enhancement due to increased sweet so the net result was that tomato and strawberry flavors were enhanced. The flavors of control foods (not predominantly sweet or sour [sausage, peanuts]) showed only small changes.

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