Sweetness is one of the five basic tastes and is almost universally regarded as a pleasurable experience. Foods rich in simple carbohydrates such as sugar are those most commonly associated with sweetness, although there are other natural and artificial compounds that are sweet at much lower concentrations, allowing their use as non-caloric sugar substitutes. Other compounds may alter perception of sweetness itself.

The chemosensory basis for detecting sweetness, which varies among both individuals and species, has only been teased apart in recent years. A recent theoretical model of sweetness is the multipoint attachment theory, which involves multiple binding sites between a sweetness receptor and a sweet substance.

Studies indicate that responsiveness to sugars and sweetness has very ancient evolutionary beginnings, being manifest as chemotaxis even in motile bacteria such as E. coli. Newborn human infants also demonstrate preferences for high sugar concentrations and prefer solutions that are sweeter than lactose, the sugar found in breast milk. Sweetness appears to have the highest taste recognition threshold, being detectable at around 1 part in 200 of sucrose in solution. By comparison, bitterness appears to have the lowest detection threshold, at about 1 part in 2 million for quinine in solution. In the natural settings that human primate ancestors evolved in, sweetness intensity should indicate energy density, while bitterness tends to indicate toxicity The high sweetness detection threshold and low bitterness detection threshold would have predisposed our primate ancestors to seek out sweet-tasting (and energy-dense) foods and avoid bitter-tasting foods. Even amongst leaf-eating primates, there is a tendency to prefer immature leaves, which tend to be higher in protein and lower in fibre and poisons than mature leaves. The 'sweet tooth' thus has an ancient evolutionary heritage, and while food processing has changed consumption patterns, human physiology remains largely unchanged.

Read more about Sweetness:  Examples of Sweet Substances, Sweetness Modifiers, The Sweetness Receptor, Sweet Receptor Pathway, Cognition, Historical Theories of Sweetness, MPA Theory of Sweetness

Other articles related to "sweetness":

Vouvray (wine) - Wines and Styles - Sweetness Levels
... As Vouvray can be made in a wide range of sweetness styles, the wine labels may indicate the sweetness level by the terms Sec, Demi-Sec, Moelleux and ... sugar level may not equate to the level of sweetness that a taster will perceive in the wine due to balance of acidity in the wine ... Sparkling Vouvray may also have the sweetness level indicated on the label ...
Sweetness And Light
... Sweetness and light is an English idiom that today is used in common speech, generally with mild irony, to describe insincere courtesy ... For example The two had been fighting for a month, but around others it was all sweetness and light ... Originally, however "sweetness and light" term had a special use in literary and cultural criticism to mean "pleasing and instructive", which in classical theory was ...
Sweetness And Light - Most Recent
... However, during the 20th and 21st centuries, the phrase "sweetness and light" has more typically been used, not in Arnold's sense, but more mundanely, to indicate merely a ... Bob's close friends knew he wasn't all sweetness and light ... Or Our time at the opera was all sweetness and light ...
Sugars In Wine - In Wine Tasting
... See also Sweetness in wine In wine tasting, humans are least sensitive to the taste of sweetness (in contrast to sensitivity to bitterness or sourness) with the majority of the population being able to detect ...
MPA Theory of Sweetness
... The most elaborate theory of sweetness to date is the multipoint attachment theory (MPA) proposed by Jean-Marie Tinti and Claude Nofre in 1991 ... theory involves a total of eight interaction sites between a sweetener and the sweetness receptor, although not all sweeteners interact with all eight sites ...

Famous quotes containing the word sweetness:

    I like the dust on the nettles, never lost
    Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.
    Edward Thomas (1878–1917)

    And deep into her crystal body poured
    The hot and sorrowful sweetness of the dust:
    Whereof she wanders mad, being all unfit
    For mortal love, that might not die of it.
    Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950)

    All the sweetness of religion is conveyed to children by the hands of storytellers and image-makers. Without their fictions the truths of religion would for the multitude be neither intelligible nor even apprehensible; and the prophets would prophesy and the philosophers celebrate in vain. And nothing stands between the people and the fictions except the silly falsehood that the fictions are literal truths, and that there is nothing in religion but fiction.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)