There is currently some research regarding the consumption of artificial dyes in food, and implications for hyperactivity. According to a study by the United Kingdoms’s Food Standards Agency, the consumptions of foods containing dyes could increase hyperactivity in children. Some dyes are synthetically made, and not found naturally in nature. A great amount of the foods we eat everyday likely contain some type of additive, for additives are used to enhance the look of food, preserve food, and to prevent foods from changing color as they naturally would. The fact that so many additives are used to enhance the aesthetics of food is very interesting, especially considering that eating is such an innate and sensory experience.
Furthermore, I found Dr. Ramakrishnan’s information about the olfactory senses and smell very intriguing. First of all, our sense of smell is our only “sense” that does not process through the “higher” parts of our brain. To elaborate, our sense of sight for example, undergoes many more pathways and is subject to influence from our human perceptions of the world. Smell, on the other hand, is the most innate of all the senses and is less influenced by the higher-thinking brain processes that influence our other senses such as smell. Even though the sense of smell is very innate, individuals immensely vary in terms of what they smell, how they react to smells, etc. Genetics plays a role in what kinds of chemical receptors we have in our noses, and therefore some individuals are able to smell differently compared to others. In addition, certain environmental factors can influence our abilities to smell, such as - smoking, repetitive occurrences of smells, allergies, illness, and more. The sense of smell is also quite ironic and unpredictable at times: we like smells that could be toxic to us, and sometimes we don’t smell chemicals that are fatal to us at all (such as carbon monoxide).