GENEVA - From one culture to another, the temperature of what people drink during their meals can vary. In many Asian countries for instance, people like to drink a hot beverage while they eat. Europeans for their part tend to favor drinks at room temperature, while North Americans prefer them ice-cold – on the rocks.
Although such differences might seem trifling at first, the French National Institute of Agronomy in Toulouse (ENSAT) teamed up with the University of Arkansas (UARK) to study the phenomenon. Together they looked at a potential correlation between the sensory perception of food and the temperature of beverages people drink with their meals. They recently published a report on their study, and the results are quite surprising.
The research reveals that when you drink fresh or ice-cold water, the sweet flavor of what you eat is greatly diminished. As a consequence, food seems rather bland and not as pleasant as it should be. On the contrary, if you drink hot or room temperature water during meals, the sweetness in the food is more intense. For instance, chocolate is better appreciated and seems tastier when it is served with a room temperature or hot beverage than with an ice-cold drink.
The same experiment was carried out to evaluate the perception of salty and bitter tastes, but drink temperature has no impact on these flavors. No test has been run yet for sourness. Lastly, researchers found out that drinking something warm during a meal enhances the perception of melting textures in food, but not of creamy ones.
These results prove that the temperature of water does have an impact on our taste, and on the pleasure we derive from eating sweet food.
Such data is interesting insofar as it could partly explain why North Americans – who like ice-cold drinks – have such an appetite for more highly sweetened foods. Moreover, it might help find out why Asians, who are used to drinking hot water and tea with their meals, are less sensitive to sweet-tasting foods.
The study is very recent and does not give a comprehensive answer to why people from different cultures are more or less attracted to sweet-tasting food. The subject would need to be further researched, and experiments carried out among different cultures and different age groups. Only then could these results be confirmed, and used as a weapon against our sweet tooth.
Russia has decided to cut off relations with the Western military alliance. But Moscow says it was NATO who really wanted the break based on its own internal rationale.
MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry's announcement that the country's permanent representation to NATO would be shut down for an indefinite period is a major development. But from Moscow's viewpoint, there was little alternative.
These measures were taken in response to the decision of NATO on Oct. 6 to cut the number of personnel allowed in the Russian mission to the Western alliance by half. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the removal of accreditations was from eight employees of the Russian mission to NATO who were identified as undeclared employees of Russian intelligence." We have seen an increase in Russian malicious activity for some time now," Stoltenberg said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called NATO's expulsion of Russian personnel a "ridiculous stunt," and Stoltenberg's words "the truest hypocrisy."
In announcing the complete shutdown in diplomacy between Moscow and NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry added: "The 'Russian threat' is being hyped in strengthen the alliance's internal unity and create the appearance of its 'relevance' in modern geopolitical conditions."
The number of Russian diplomatic missions in Brussels has been reduced twice unilaterally by NATO in 2015 and 2018 - after the alliance's decision of April 1, 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between Russia and NATO in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Diplomats' access to the alliance headquarters and communications with its international secretariat was restricted, military contacts have frozen.
Yet the new closure of all diplomatic contacts is a perilous new low. Kommersant sources said that the changes will affect the military liaison mission of the North Atlantic alliance in Moscow, aimed at promoting the expansion of the dialogue between Russia and NATO. However, in recent years there has been no de facto cooperation. And now, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced, the activities of the military liaison mission will be suspended. The accreditation of its personnel will be canceled on November 1.
NATO told RIA Novosti news service on Monday that it regretted Moscow's move. Meanwhile, among Western countries, Germany was the first to respond. "It would complicate the already difficult situation in which we are now and prolong the "ice age," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.
"Lavrov said on Monday, commenting on the present and future of relations between Moscow and the North Atlantic Alliance, "If this is the case, then we see no great need to continue pretending that any changes will be possible in the foreseeable future because NATO has already announced that such changes are impossible.
The suspension of activities of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, as well as the military liaison and information mission in Russia, means that Moscow and Brussels have decided to "draw a final line under the partnership relations of previous decades," explained Andrei Kortunov, director-general of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, "These relations began to form in the 1990s, opening channels for cooperation between the sides … but they have continued to steadily deteriorate over recent years."
Kortunov believes the current rupture was promoted by Brussels. "A new strategy for NATO is being prepared, which will be adopted at the next summit of the alliance, and the previous partnership with Russia does not fit into its concept anymore."
The existence and expansion of NATO after the end of the Cold War was the main reason for the destruction of the whole complex of relations between Russia and the West. Today, Russia is paying particular attention to marking red lines related to the further steps of Ukraine's integration into NATO. Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov previously stated this, warning that in response to the alliance's activity in the Ukrainian direction, Moscow would take "active steps" to ensure its security.
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