Astronauts Lose Their Sense of Smell and Crave Spicy Food in Space

RedChiliPepperAs someone who knows the feeling (without the space travel: Godspeed Jon Glenn!) I am amazed that astronauts develop temporary anosmia in space: wow, never heard that before. Joe Palca writes on NPR’s Food Blog:

If you think astronauts just want dehydrated dinners and freeze-dried ice cream, think again. After a few days in space, they start reaching for the hot sauce. In fact, they may start craving foods they didn’t necessarily like on Earth.

“They crave [spicy] peppers, they crave sour and sweet things,” says Jean Hunter, a food engineer at Cornell University. That means Tabasco sauce was definitely on the menu for space shuttle astronauts. Why this sudden interest in hot peppers? Part of the reason may be that after arriving in space, astronauts lose their sense of smell, which largely governs the pleasurable taste of food. An example of this is coffee. “If you hold your nose and sip your coffee, you’re getting just a bitter liquid,” says Hunter.

Why do astronauts lose their sense of smell, and what’s this got to do with a preference for fiery food? No one is sure, but there are some plausible ideas ….

Read More:NPR’s Food Blog

2 Comments on "Astronauts Lose Their Sense of Smell and Crave Spicy Food in Space"

  1. Doormans Placebo | Feb 29, 2012 at 4:36 am |

    mexican astronauts to the rescue. They are used to the fire foods

  2. tabasco? what garbage.

    NASA scientists should know Tapatio is superior.

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