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DanielIsrael

Registered: June 25, 2006
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 

Hi Chef, I am doing some research on the 5 tastes and i have found bitterness to be quite interesting on how the people react to the taste of it. I know poison is bitter. I know medicines are bitter because they contain some poison in them (, so i have read ). Do all bitter things contain some poison?

windsor

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Registered: Nov 3, 2006
Posts: 40
Reply with quote  #2 

That's an interesting question. It is also worth noting that virtually every substance, taken in enough quantity, is toxic. It is the whole premise of homoeopathy. I look forward to Fritz's response.


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Chef

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Registered: June 13, 2006
Posts: 169
Reply with quote  #3 
Well! . . . Neither Donny-el or Windsor is totally correct.

Not all poisons are bitter - for example many of the most 'deadly' poisons found in certain mushrooms have no taste whatsoever, also not everything which tastes bitter is a poison.(See below regarding chocolate, vanilla, and coffee) Furthermore, not all "medicines" are poison, albeit some may taste bad, but that doesn't necessarily translate to being poisonous. Antimicrobial agents (medicines) are, by definition, "poisonous" but generally only targeted for a specific microbe which is causing a disease or infection.

I also disagree with Windsor's statement that all substances are "toxic" if consumed in large enough quantities; that's really stretching things beyond a reasonable assumption.

Likewise, although it is statistically certain that life eventually leads to death, it is folly to assume that overeating will cause poisoning. Clinical poisoning is at best dose related. Our bodies certainly react protectively when harm of any sort threatens our well-being.

For example, if one were to drink copious quantities of orange juice with the intention of eliciting a life-threatening state the effort would in all probability result in serious convulsive vomiting, but not death.

Collegiate Beer Bust Parties not only offer a good example of sophomoric foolishness, but certainly demonstrates that regurgitation is a most effective protective response to the threat of alcoholic poisoning. Fortunately most of us learn this lesson of physiological protection well and eventually graduate.

Many bitter compounds are not particularity "poisonous" and we learn to enjoy them as flavorings, especially when they are combined with sweeteners. For example unadorned chocolate is quite bitter, and so is coffee, as is vanilla, while some such as almonds are a combination of bitter, sour, and are astringent to boot. (Technically astringents are best categorized as 'irritants' rather than tastes). If you have any doubts, just try some vanilla extract someday "neat", i.e. without sugar or an 'artificial sweetener' and you may be quite surprised at how 'awful' it is.
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