Ah, the sweet taste of victory. Literally
We've all been taught that it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, but when it comes down to how tasty your food is, it sort of does.
At least, that's what science says.
A new study from Cornell University food scientists found that our emotional state influences how tasty our food seems, particularly when it comes to our emotional investment when watching sports.
The new research, published in the journal Appetite, followed about 550 die-hard Cornell hockey fans to see how their emotional state – based on their teams' wins and losses – affected their responses to food.
After each home game, fans were given a salted-caramel pretzel ice-cream and a lemon-lime sorbet.
Typically, they preferred the ice-cream, except for when their home team won, when the sorbet was the sweeter treat, reports the Cornell Chronicle.
"We determined how emotions arising from the outcome of college hockey games influenced the perception of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami (savory) taste … in addition to hedonic (liking and disliking) responses to real foods," explained Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and one of the paper's co-authors.
"Sweet displayed a positive association with the fans' satisfactions with the results.
"In times of negative affect, foods of a less pleasurable nature become even more unappealing to taste, as more hedonically pleasing foods remain pleasurable."
While salty, umami and bitter flavours were not affected by the game result, sour tastes were viewed as even more sour when fans were unhappy.
Does this mean our taste buds are safe if we always reach for the ice-cream?