Taste preference in the face of specific deficiencies is actually quite interesting. Some examples include:
- Removal of the adrenal glands without replacement of mineralocorticoids leads rapidly to death due to massive loss of sodium from the body. Adrenalectomized animals show a clear preference for salty water over pure water, and if provided with salt water, can actually survive.
- If the parathyroid glands are removed, animals lose calcium and cannot maintain blood calcium levels appropriately due to deficiency in parathyroid hormone. Following parathyroidectomy, animals choose drinking water that contains calcium chloride over pure water or water containing equivalent concentrations of sodium chloride.
- Injection of excessive doses of insulin results in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Following such treatment, animals will preferentially pick out and consume the sweetest among a group of foods.