A recent study in Japan "has demonstrated that the preference for different types of natural mineral water by female college students was similar to that by rats," according to researchers. How did they reach this shocking conclusion?
Of course, improbable researcher Marc Abrahams has the story, in the UK Guardian:
Written by Esumi Yukiko of Shimane Women's Junior College in Matsui, Japan, and Ohara Ikuo of Kobe Women's University, and published in the Journal of Home Economics of Japan, this six-page monograph describes a simple experiment.
The authors explain their work was partly inspired by a simple fact: "The Society for the Study of Tasty Water, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Public Welfare, proposed hardness to be one of the most important requirements for tasty water."
Therefore, they say, "the objectives of this study are to investigate the best mineral water for drinking by using hardness as an index, and whether the response of rats to mineral water can be extrapolated to that of humans."
Yukiko and Ikua conducted taste tests with 16 healthy female humans, 16 healthy female rats, and 14 different brands (nine Japanese, two Belgian and two French) of bottled water. The water, all of it, was uncarbonated. For good measure, the taste testers also taste-tested tap water.
It is unclear how the rats were able to convey their feelings about water "hardness." Apparently it was obvious enough that our researchers were able to reach the conclusion I mentioned above, which is that women of both human and rat origin like tasty water.
Also the researchers note that they didn't record where the women were in their menstrual cycles, since apparently that information could radically change how women perceive hardness in water.
Read more about this breakthrough study in Abrahams' Guardian column.