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Eating serves a basic biological role—a key reason we eat is to acquire nutrients necessary for our health and survival. The sense of taste influences what we eat by helping us to judge a food's quality before we swallow it. Sweet and savory tastes suggest the presence of carbohydrates and proteins, important nutrient sources. Salty taste indicates that foods contain sodium chloride or other salts necessary for proper cellular function. Bitter taste is often the sign of toxins; sour taste may indicate spoilage. Of course, how we use this taste information depends on our experience, our preferences, and our motivations. For example, we may avoid sweet-tasting foods because we want to lose weight, and we can learn to enjoy bitter-tasting drinks like beer and coffee. ...

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