Supertaster

July 12, 2010

Supertasters are people who have a few more fungiform papillae type taste buds, which makes them a little more sensitive when tasting. One quarter of the population seems to be supertasters.

When I first heard of supertasters, it was in conjunction with drinking wine, and I thought, “Nope, I’m not one. I have such a hard time smelling and tasting things in wine that I can’t be.” Then I took a “Le Nez du Vin”: The Nose of Wine class. They said that supertasters avoid coffee because of the bitterness, which I do, so that got me looking into supertasters a little bit more.

Here is a list of foods supertasters avoid with comments about how supertasters taste in () when available, along with my reactions:

  • Burssel sprouts, cabbage, and kale –not part of my normal diet so I couldn’t really say
  • Coffee (too bitter) – smells nice, but I need a ton of sugar and cream to drink it. And very little coffee.
  • Dark chocolate – I don’t like it, and will consume only milk chocolate. I won’t touch chocolate chip cookies due to the semi-sweet chips used. And I will hardly eat baked chocolate, such as a cholocate cake or brownies, but it does help to have some milk to wash it down.
  • Hoppy beer (too bitter) – yup, that’s me!
  • Grapefruit juice – won’t touch it
  • Green tea – it is okay, but I would much rather have black tea
  • Spinach – I like it as a 50/50 mix with lettuce, but straight spinach sometimes tastes, well, dirty to me. However, there are certain lettuces I won’t eat, either, because they are too bitter. I won’t eat Iceberg lettuce because, well, I’m picky.
  • Soy products – not part of my normal diet so I couldn’t really say
  • Carbonation – sometimes soda is overcarbonated and annoys my nose, but carbonated beer and cider doesn’t bother me
  • Chili peppers (burn is more intense) – I can handle them in moderate doses
  • Tonic water (more bitter) – I love gin, but I won’t drink it with tonic water, but 7-up instead
  • Olives (salt is more intense) – I like black olives, but not green
  • Sugary foods (sickening sweet vs no such thing as too sweet for regular tasters) – I do have issues with too sweet, but mostly too rich. So this is a toss up. I prefer fruity desserts, or even things like rolls, but not really cakes. However, I do like sweet tea.
  • Frosting (yucky) – don’t care for it
  • Saccharine (strong after taste) – I don’t remember
  • Alcohol (too sharp – less of a chance of being an alcoholic) – well, I don’t like my alcohol dry, but I don’t consume a drink a day.
  • Ginger (burn) – I like ginger
  • Foods should be tepid – even if I did drink coffee, it is served way too hot for me.
  • Different levels of milk fat (can tell) – We normally keep nonfat milk in the house, but I went to see the in-laws who had 2%, and it tasted sweeter and creamier to me. Same thing at restaurants. And I can tell the difference between goat’s milk and cow’s milk and their cheeses, and a lot of people can’t.
  • Broccoli (don’t like when raw because it is bitter) – I’ve always avoided raw broccoli, but I love cooked broccoli.
  • Fatty foods (undesirable due to texture) – okay, I like fat to a degree, but I probably don’t avoid it like they suggest supertasters do. For instance, I love cheese!
  • This could explain why I don’t like 90% of beers – the hops make it too bitter for me.

Supertasters are also suppose to be skinnier, which any doctor would consider me on the heavy side.

Supertasters don’t care for vegetables, either, so they are more at risk for cancers and there is a link between supertasters having a higher number of colon polyps due to vegetable avoidance.  Compared to my husband, to plays with his food rather than eating, I like my vegetables more cooked than him (though not took cooked), which reduces bitterness. I eat them because I know I should.

Sources:

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