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Scientists Visualize Ice Cream Sensations On The Computer

Update Date: Jun 05, 2014 11:43 AM EDT

Researchers are now able to visualize changes in coldness, creaminess, or texture that we experience in the mouth while eating ice cream. The graph containing colored curves would help manufacturers improve product quality, researchers said. 

The technique, more commonly known as 'Temporal Dominance of Sensations' (TDS) has become popular for analyzing how consumer impressions evolve from the moment they taste  a product. 

Researcher used the same technique to visualize the 'perceptions' that we experience when eating an ice cream. 

"As well as how it looks before being served, the texture on our tongue and palate is key to it being accepted and considered as a quality product," said Susana Fiszman, one of the authors, to SINC, in the press release.

Researchers considered 85 persons as subjects who were asked to go through a tasting session. In the testing session subjects had to describe the sensations they felt while eating a vanilla ice cream. 

The participants pointed out on a screen the most dominant characteristic present in each moment, from the cold they felt when first touching the mouth (cold-ice) or once on the tongue to its creaminess, lack of smoothness, gumminess and mouth coating, i.e., how much of the product remained in the mouth after swallowing, the press release added. 

Researchers then processed the results with a software that depicted them in graphs displaying colored lines, one for each characteristic. 

"In an ice cream made only with milk and sugar, the curves that dominate are those representing coldness and lack of smoothness. But adding cream, egg and hydrocolloids significantly increases and prolongs creaminess and mouth coating," Fiszman explained in the press release.

"Normally the perception of a cold-ice sensation is negative for the consumer, but we have seen that this is eliminated or delayed when these macromolecules are added. The macromolecules also enhance and prolong the creaminess, which is associated with a high quality ice cream".

The research has been published in the journal 'Food Hydrocolloids.'

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