If water has no taste, how come cold water tastes better than warm water

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Could drinking cold water make you lose weight and think it “tastes” better? A seminal study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 88, Issue 12, 1 December 2003, Pages 6015–6019, stated

“Drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%. The increase occurred within 10 min and reached a maximum after 30–40 min. The total thermogenic response was about 100 kJ. About 40% of the thermogenic effect originated from warming the water from 22 to 37 C. In men, lipids mainly fueled the increase in metabolic rate. In contrast, in women carbohydrates were mainly used as the energy source.”

Another author made these interesting calculations,

“So in the case of a 16-ounce glass of ice water, your body must raise the temperature of 473.18 grams of water from zero to 37 degrees C. In doing so, your body burns 17,508 calories. But that’s calories with a little “c.” Your body only burns 17.5 Calories, and in the grand scheme of a 2,000-Calorie diet, that 17.5 isn’t very significant.”

Since 16 ounces of ice-cold Coca-Cola contains about 187 Calories, drinking it cold would burn about 17 Calories in the first hour, but leaves your body with the other residual 170 Calories, which remains from the Coke, to dispose of later on.

Consider though how the body regulates body temperature to maintain a desired goal of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) within a normal course of a day’s activities.

On warmer days cold water would “taste” better, because of the energy needed raise its temperature, which may reduce the heat-retaining fat cells present in the body and cause a person become more slender.

In colder times hot beverages don’t need fat metabolism, besides the normal mechanics of making the drink, serving it, lifting a cup, etc. and allows a build up a layer of blubber to insulate a person against the frigid temperatures outside.

Notice how the first authors pointed out the temperature-induced effects lasted no more than an hour, after which time the body stabilized to its normal condition from ingesting the water.

They also mentioned men and women burn calories in different fashions when their bodies react to stress, and don’t reach homeostasis the same way.

Interestingly I don’t know the water equivalent of starving, i.e. I wouldn’t say “I’m thirsting to death.”

Under extreme conditions, when the specter of dehydration becomes real, the taste of water goes beyond its temperature into fulfilling its basic function of sustaining life.

All factors being considered equal, the debate of preferring cold versus warm water temperature may come from the body’s internal survival mechanisms, which affects how we perceive taste.

 

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