Eating sour and risk taking

The battle with Hashimoto’s leads many capable, devoted and talented people to withdraw from their jobs, hobbies, and community activities. As a consequence of the disease itself and by often not being understood by medical professionals, family and friends, being alone, many Hashimoto’s withdraw, isolate themselves and start to doubt their capabilities and feel insecure to do the things they love and are experts at.

Risk-taking means different things to every one of us. Some people risky activities hunters, while others avoid any risk (e.g., people with anxiety disorders). Unexpectedly, risk-taking is a primitive behaviour that may lead to a happier life by offering a sense of excitement through self-actualization.

Taste (sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and umami) has an effect on cognitive processes and decision-making. The dual-process theory distinguishes two styles of thinking:

1) the intuition-based System 1 with its associative reasoning that is fast and automatic with strong emotional bonds.

2) the reasoning-based System 2 which is slower and more volatile, being influenced by conscious judgements and attitudes.

Researchers suggest that based on the explosive but short-lived sensation of a sour taste, people would be left wondering, hence become more rational in their decision-making and act slower. In contrast, the residual characteristic of sweetness coupled with its typically perceived pleasantness (affordance of ingestion) was suggested to stimulate a more intuitive decision-making behaviour and faster actions. Similar to sweet, it is suggested that bitter had a tendency to facilitate faster decision-making due to its clear signal of an unpleasant taste (affordance of rejection).

Taste is a dedicated warning system that helps people to make important decisions under risk. Given the parallel between human decision making under risk and the unique properties of the gustatory system, an interaction between risk-taking and the sense of taste can be expected.

Research shows that in cases of psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, or stress-related disorders the use of lemon oils proved efficient and was further demonstrated to reduce stress.

Recent study investigates the relationship between the five basics tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami) and human risk-taking behaviour and analyses the temporal differences in the behaviour depending on the taste administered.

The findings suggest that sour does not provoke people to indulge in reckless risky habits, but has unique attributes to modulate risk-taking and may encourage risk-averse people to take new opportunities and potentially lead to a happier life. For example, people who are risk-averse (e.g., people with anxiety disorders or depression) may benefit from a sour additive in their diet.

This study did not use Hashimoto’s sample. Though, we know that there is a functional link between the immune and taste systems. It might be worth trying to use some sour when struggling with taking our life back. The world needs YOUR unique contribution which nobody else can give.

We would love to hear your experience with sour, if and how it may support you in times of doubt. Share it witn us below, please.



Vi, C. T., & Obrist, M. (2018). Sour Promotes Risk-Taking: An Investigation into the Effect of Taste on Risk-Taking Behaviour in Humans. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 7987. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26164-3


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