We all know that warming up a meal makes it more flavorful. But temperature can also play tricks on your perception of sweet, sour and salty
, found a study at the Yale School of Medicine. (Apply something very hot to the tip of your tongue—no food needed—and you'll experience a sugary sensation, whereas cold could trigger a sour or salty tang.) What happens is that as your tongue heats up, tiny channels in your "sweetness-detecting" taste buds open and send a stronger signal to the brain
. The warmer, the sweeter—which is why ice cream tastes better softened than frozen but is cloying when melted. Note: "Thermal tastes
" are subtle because other flavors often dominate: A piping-hot curry obviously won't taste like candy, but, served cold, it may seem relatively salty.
Next: Trick your brain into eating less when you're at home