Archives for March 2014

What tantalises your taste buds?

Firstly, a brief science lesson to illustrate the difference between taste and flavour. Taste is derived from chemical senses detected by the receptor cells, of which there are at least 50, in each of the tastebuds that dot every part of our tongues. Whereas flavour is a combination of senses, not just taste, but also smell and touch, perceived by the brain. There are generally agreed to be four tastes: salty, sweet, sour and bitter, but several more are thought to exist.

We all have unique preferences for tastes – some of us cannot stand sweet foods for example, but because our tastebuds change over the course of our lives, what we like and dislike also changes. Taste can also be inherited genetically – a person who doesn’t like the bitter taste of dark chocolate may pass that on to their children.

Things such as illness, vitamin deficiency, mood, and smoking can also affect taste. Interestingly, because the effects of smoking can make food seem bland, one of the reasons that e-cigarettes and e-shish devices such as those sold on have become so popular recently is that they come in a wide variety of fruity flavours.

Mood and taste
One of the most involving areas of study around taste concerns mood. It is widely known that eating healthily can, as well as improving our physical health, also improve our mental health. But how we feel can also affect how we perceive different tastes.
Back in the late 1990s, a scientific study evaluated how a group of people tasted an artificial sweetener. In an initial test, most of the group found it far more sweet than bitter. The scientists then stressed the candidates out with a series of unsolvable tests and an airhorn, before having them taste the sweetener again. This time, the group rated the artificial sweetener as being much more bitter. The test indicated that the more stressed people are, the less likely they are to find certain foods so sweet. This could be could explain why, when we feel rotten, we load up on foods that are bad for us as a way of alleviating the symptoms.
Another piece of research in Bristol, this century, found that studying a person’s tastes can give useful clues into which chemicals in their brains are peaking or dipping. This could one day help doctors to medicate for depression more accurately.

Individual tastes
Our personalities mean that we all taste foods individually. A dessert may seem delicious to one person, but resemble a mouthful of sawdust to another. There is also a small section of society known as Super-Tasters. These people have a genetically heightened sense of taste, meaning that some of the most common foods and drinks, such as coffee, ale or chilli, are unpalatable to them. However, one advantage that Super-Tasters have over the rest of us is that they tend to be a lot slimmer, being resistant to many of the foods people love, but which are actually bad for them, such as crisps, chocolate and soft drinks.

New discoveries
Scientists are leaping to fresh discoveries all the time. This research is eagerly followed by food manufacturers, naturally keen to discover ways they can enhance the taste of their products while still adhering to guidelines on the amount of sugar or salt they can add.

E-cigarettes are just one example of how technology is moving forward, allowing us to continue to enjoy a range of different tastes and flavours. Will science one day help people to maintain their tasting abilities despite their mood or general health?

Everyday cycling incidents that aren’t your fault

Britain has caught a real cycling fever in the recent decade. Cycling has become that popular, that in 2012 bike sales surpassed car sales, with over three and a half million bikes being sold compared to two million cars.

More and more people are turning to healthier, environmentally friendlier and cheaper way of commuting.

With the increase in sales and demand, every store is trying to become more and more competitive with prices. Argos has probably the best quality/price ratio, or at least that’s the one that comes to mind first. Often Argos has bike deals for as little as £80.

I cycle everywhere I can, especially with the warm weather, there is something really freeing about cycling, that I can’t get enough of. However, doing it wrong can be dangerous.

As a cyclist I feel like I need to be more aware of the laws of the road, because when it comes to claiming responsibility for accidents, the lines can become blurred and you can see why being well informed on your rights becomes fundamental.

Here are some common incidents that cyclists may believe, wrongly, to be their fault! Has any of these situations happen to you?

Being doored is never your fault! You are entitled to claim £1000 for this offence!

If you are not a cyclist, then you will not be familiar with the term “doored”. You are doored when someone opens their car door and accidentally knocks you to the ground in the process.

Now, many people would just put this down as a genuine accident, which is fair enough, but the point remains that it is actually illegal.

The Road Traffic Act of 1988 states that “it’s an offence to open any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person.” The passenger responsible for the dooring has committed a criminal offence and is liable to pay up to £1,000 in fines.

This rule has rarely been enforced; UK Cycle Rules author Jorren Knibbe reports that only two or three such incidents have been reported since 1960. Sometimes saying sorry does make it all OK, but if it doesn’t remember that there are laws in place to protect you from such occurrences.

Bus lanes are for cyclist,too!

One of the biggest nemeses for cyclists in the average UK city is the presence of buses. These giant red behemoths obviously rule the bus lane, but what people often forget is that bus lanes are there for cyclists, too! Bus drivers can get careless when it comes to checking their bus-lane-side mirrors and this lapse of concentration often puts the cyclist in great danger. When you take into account the fact that a cyclist sticks to the furthest most left point of the lane, any accident that does occur is usually the fault of the bus driver, and not the cyclist. Don’t let them make you think otherwise!

Collisions with pedestrians on a cycling lane isn’t your fault!

To many cyclists, the bane of their life comes in the form of pedestrians meandering into the cycling lane. What many people don’t know is that if you collide with a pedestrian in the cycle lane, then it is considered a Road Traffic Offence. Cyclists who have injured themselves or damaged their bikes in order to prevent a collision with a pedestrian who should really not be walking on the cycle lane, they could be entitled to claim for some form of compensation.

What to do in the case of a collision?

If you are ever involved in a collision whilst riding your bike there are some things that you must do. First and foremost, contact the emergency services, get yourself checked over and then file a complaint.

Unless cyclists start filing complaints, the government will never try and make it safer for people to ride!

Also, make sure you gather witnesses. If you want to win your case you’ll most definitely need them! Usually people with no connection to you are more beneficial in this instance.

There are many rules that favour cyclists but, sadly, many are unknown and those that are get used sporadically.

One thing is for certain: just because you’re on a bike does not automatically make it your fault! is owned by Mediamash (NI) Limited, who are an Introducer Appointed Representative of Seopa Ltd. The quote system is owned and operated by Seopa Ltd, who are authorised and regulated by the FCA, number 313860. You can view our registration at We do not give financial advice on this website. If in doubt get professional advice and always read the policy information before purchasing an insurance contract.