Anopsology

Why do a lot of humans prefer cold beverages?

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21 hours ago, iNow said:

That’s where my thoughts went, too.

I have no idea whether or not the idea is valid, but I’d heard that lower temperature slows the volatile compounds that give water an off taste.

Seems likely that this could be a stretch, but I do know that the same water out of the tap that tastes horrible when warm is far more palatable when ice cold. 

What is taste though? There is no such thing as intrinsically good or bad taste. It's just a way of sorting out the safe nutritious food from the dangerous. So your brain and taste cells evolved to tell you what is good to eat and drink, and what is bad.

As it's the SAME water in both cases, and only the temperature is different, then it's obvious that your brain is therefor reacting to the temperature, and telling you that the cold water is good to drink, and the warm water is bad. And I would say again, that that is because in our evolutionary past, cold water was fresh running water, and warm water was more stagnant and dangerous to drink.

You only have to look at a few survivalist videos to get that message. It's pointless looking at rats and mice in this context. Humans don't have the same immune system, and most animals can drink water that would kill or make a human very sick. Survivalists will tell you to be very careful what you drink, and to look for clean running water as a general guide, which of course, will be cooler than still water from a pool or puddle.

 

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2 hours ago, mistermack said:

So your brain and taste cells evolved to tell you what is good to eat and drink, and what is bad.

Not really, no. Most of that comes from upbringing and how we’re reared. 

2 hours ago, mistermack said:

As it's the SAME water in both cases, and only the temperature is different, then it's obvious that your brain is therefor reacting to the temperature

Or, as my previous post clearly outlined, perhaps it’s about the movement and energy levels of volatile compounds and how THAT changes as a result of temp.

A more vigorous interaction of molecules with our olfactory receptors will influence our perception of the substance, as will less vigorous interactions resulting from lower temps.   

2 hours ago, mistermack said:

You only have to look at a few survivalist videos to get that message.

I agree that running water tends to be better and generally safer for us to invest than stagnant water, but I can’t agree with your claim that running water is always cooler than still water. Clearly, the surrounding environment, water source, and other similar related variables are far more relevant to water temp than motion alone. 

Running water in Texas is likely to be warmer than still water in Alaska, for example. The broader motion of water through a landscape ir system is clearly a barely relevant variable when discussing temperature (even though, as we all know, motion when observed at the molecular level is the very definition of temperature). 

Edited by iNow

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I think it might have a lot to do with how we expect a beverage to taste. Regular wine drinkers will know which wine is to be stored at which temperature, and if it is to be decanted, for how long. Of course with fizzy drinks, they lose their ability to keep carbon dioxide in the watery solution. Fizzy drinks always as cool as possible. And then there's the story with beer. Aside from being fizzy most of the time (unless you're drinking Ale) it just tastes terrible at room temperature (there are a few beers in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic that DO taste good at room temperature, but that's the exception, because they have very little hops, which causes regular beer to taste bitter at room temperature)

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2 hours ago, iNow said:

Or, as my previous post clearly outlined, perhaps it’s about the movement and energy levels of volatile compounds and how THAT changes as a result of temp.

A more vigorous interaction of molecules with our olfactory receptors will influence our perception of the substance, as will less vigorous interactions resulting from lower temps.   

That's not the point though. It's how your brain INTERPRETS the difference which is taste. If warmer water was incredibly good for you, and safer by far to drink, then the exact same molecules at the same temperature would taste really nice to you now, after millions of years of evolution. 

Of course it's right that we learn from our parents to avoid certain foods as well, (in the wild). That goes for chimps as well as humans, they learn by sticking close to their mother and watching what they do. But taste is a blunt instrument, that gives you a start in learning what to eat and what not to.

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12 hours ago, CharonY said:

 Likewise, dogs do not cool down by sweating and hence, would not have a positive effect.

Thanks - that is what I was thinking but didn't want to challenge the post as it was very sure of itself.  Makes sense an ice cube would cool a dog. They were saying never to give one to a dog in hot weather. They were suggesting that the ice in the dogs tummy would make the dogs insides think it was cold and it would send blood to the stomach to heat it....  and end up over heating the dog which could lead to death.  I think maybe someone fed a dog an ice cube somewhere and it died...  probably would have dies anyway and had nothing to do with the ice cube. They then jumped to the conclusion that it was the ice that killed it...?  Who knows? 

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I don't know anything about dogs and ice cubes, but I do know that something along those lines applies to humans and hypothermia.

If someone is seriously hypothermic, you should never give them a hot bath or shower to warm them up. What can happen is that the body is "fooled" into thinking that it's too hot, and sends inner blood to the extremities, to lose heat. This has the effect of pumping cold blood from the extremities straight back to the heart and can and does cause heart attacks in healthy people. 

The advice is to warm up hypothermic patients gradually, not rapidly, and give them hot drinks so that the heat goes internal, not to the outer extremities.

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1 hour ago, mistermack said:

If someone is seriously hypothermic, you should never give them a hot bath or shower to warm them up. What can happen is that the body is "fooled" into thinking that it's too hot, and sends inner blood to the extremities, to lose heat. This has the effect of pumping cold blood from the extremities straight back to the heart and can and does cause heart attacks in healthy people. 

The advice is to warm up hypothermic patients gradually, not rapidly, and give them hot drinks so that the heat goes internal, not to the outer extremities.

That is only half correct. The latter part is correct (to my limited knowledge based on second-hand knowledge from medical professionals) hypothermic patients should warm up slowly. But it is not that sudden heat will lead to heat loss or that cold blood will cause heart attack as the major issue. The core temp may have an intermittent drop, but it is usually only an issue if the warming efforts are aborted because of that. 

Rather it is because sudden shift in temperature can a) be extremely painful and can b) cause a sudden drop in blood pressure if the extremities start warming up (plus the blood in extremities will be rich in lactic acid, possibly causing additional heat issues). I.e. baths could be used if one carefully warms up the trunk first (as opposed to extremities) .

Again: not medical advice, just somewhat informed second-hand knowledge.

13 hours ago, iNow said:

Or, as my previous post clearly outlined, perhaps it’s about the movement and energy levels of volatile compounds and how THAT changes as a result of temp.

I also note that the point about shifting preferences in dependence on exertion, liquid content (flavouring), environmental temperature as well as the fact that preferred temps still allow some bacterial growth are being ignored as well. 

 

13 hours ago, iNow said:

Not really, no. Most of that comes from upbringing and how we’re reared. 

Indeed, the main point being that learned behaviour does strongly affect our actions (a point that is only selectively acknowledged...).

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That's interesting, about the blood pressure drop on rewarming. I was going from memory, and I have no idea where I read about hypothermia and the possible danger of rewarming. So I did a quick check on wiki, and it says the following :

Rewarming Shock (also known as rewarming collapse) has been described as a drop in blood pressure following the warming of a person who is very cold.[1] The real cause of this rewarming shock is unknown.[1]

There was a theoretical concern that external rewarming rather than internal rewarming may increase the risk.[2] These concerns were partly believed to be due to afterdrop, a situation detected during laboratory experiments where there is a continued decrease in core temperature after rewarming has been started.[2] Recent studies have not supported these concerns, and problems are not found with active external rewarming.[2][3]

 

The bit about afterdrop is roughly similar to what I remembered, it seems that recent studies are not so certain. As someone who has used motorbikes all his life, I can say that I've been incredibly chilled on a few occasions, and warmed up in a hot bath when I got home, but I'm still here. :)

On the point of learned behaviour, of course nobody's disputing it's importance. But equally, instinctive behaviour also exists, and it's not easy to be certain which is which. I tend to think that if the whole world follows a certain trend, it's likely to have an inherited instinctive root, or at least a component. But with a rapidly globalising culture, you can't even rely on that. 

 

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