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It goes on some of our favorite foods, and it can even make our least favorite foods taste better. Yes, we're talking about melted cheese.

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[ INTRO ][. It’s ooey, it’s gooey, and it’s oh-so-delicious.

It’s on some of our favorite dishes, like pizza and nachos, and it can even make our least favorite foods taste better. Yes, I’m talking about cheese. Or more specifically, melted cheese — because while cheese is delicious and all, a lot of people think the melted stuff is so much better.

And that’s probably not a coincidence. There actually seems to be a scientific reason why people love melted cheese more than solid cheese. So the next time you’re reaching for those nachos… you can blame it on your biology.

According to the research, a lot of this has to do with something called mouthfeel — a term used to describe… well, how food feels in your mouth. It’s pretty straightforward. Studies suggest that mouthfeel plays a big role in how much we like a certain food, and that something’s texture can even influence how much of it we eat.

Take a study published in 2014. In it, researchers ran five experiments where two groups of people ate foods with different textures. In one experiment, they had 83 university students eat either hard or soft brownies while watching advertisements.

And the scientists found that the soft brownie group naturally ate more. People don’t just have a soft spot for brownies, though. Surveys have found that, when it comes to cheese, we also tend to like things on the softer side.

And scientists think there are a couple of reasons why. One is that we tend to like foods that don’t take a lot of work to eat — which makes sense. It’s way easier to stuff your face with a bunch of soft, fudgy brownies than a bag of rock candy.

This isn’t the whole answer, though, because the amount of effort it takes to eat can also be influenced by things like your saliva. For example, some people dissolve starches faster than others because their saliva contains more of a protein called salivary amylase. So something that feels really thick to you might feel more runny to someone else.

Another part of the answer, then, seems to be what the food is made of. In general, people probably love the mouthfeel of fatty foods — specifically, ones that go from solid to semi-solid or liquid, like cheese or chocolate — because it signals that the food is higher in calories. And since calories are our source of energy, there’s an evolutionary advantage to loving foods with lots of them.

Which probably also explains why fatty food is so good at activating the brain’s reward system. So really, your love of melty cheese might be your body’s way of trying to fuel itself. Between the calories and the fact that it’s just so easy to eat — what’s not to love?

Speaking of things that are easy to try, have you tried today’s Daily Challenge from Brilliant? Brilliant is probably best known for its courses about science, math, engineering, and computer science, but their Daily Challenges are really good. There’s a new one every day about a math, science, or computer science topics, and these questions great for brushing up on your skills between classes or on the bus home.

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So, have at it — and thanks for supporting SciShow along the way! [ Outro ].