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All foods and beverages stimulate multiple, physiologically distinct, sensory systems. Information from volatile chemicals reaches the olfactory receptors deep inside the nose either via sniffing (orthonasally), or via the nasopharynx once the food is in the mouth (retronasally). With either route, information reaches the olfactory bulb via cranial nerve (CN) I. Molecules from soluble compounds in foods—including (but not limited to) carbohydrates, salts, acids, amino acids, and probably fatty acids—bind with taste receptors, most of which are embedded within raised structures (papillae) on the dorsal and lateral surfaces of the tongue. For taste information, these structures are innervated primarily by CN VII (chorda tympani) and CN IX (glossopharyngeal). Foods also stimulate nerve fibers responsive to touch and temperature, and—in the case of hot spices—those that ...

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