Taste Buds 101

Dr. Mike Dow teaches TASTE BUDS 101! He explains what it means to be a supertaster in easy to understand terms. More importantly, Dr. Mike will tell you what you can do for the picky eaters and supertasters in your life – whether that’s you, your child, or another loved one. He’ll guide you through taking the taste test and then give you tips on how to broaden the range of foods that you offer in your household.

Do You Dislike Certain Bitter Vegetables?

Evidence suggests that supertasters are more sensitive to bitter tastes and fattiness in food, and often show lower acceptance of foods that are high in these taste qualities. Supertasters tend to dislike strong, bitter foods like raw broccoli, grapefruit juice, coffee and dark chocolate.

This may put supertasters at risk for certain cancers that bitter compounds can protect against. A pilot study on colon cancer conducted at the Wayne State University School of Medicine showed that the number of cancerous polyps a patient had was directly related to tasting ability.

Do You Dislike Fatty Foods?

Supertasters tend to find highly fatty and sugary foods less palatable than non-tasters. As a result, supertasters tend to weigh less. Research indicates that supertasters have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease because of their lower fat intake.

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Is Your Child A Picky Eater?

Does your child turn up their nose and refuse to eat broccoli, spinach or Brussels sprouts? It may be genetically programmed and beyond your control. If your child is a supertaster, their taste buds may be extra sensitive to the bitter compounds found in vegetables and certain fruits. In one study, non-taster children consumed more vegetables, particularly bitter tasting vegetables, than did the taster children during a free-choice intake test.

Which Wines Best Match Your Palate?

The degree to which you experience wine’s bitterness, astringency and acidity is correlated with your taster status. Non-tasters gave significantly lower intensity ratings for the bitterness, astringency and acidity of the red wines than did tasters and supertasters. Tasters have reported a greater perceived bitterness and irritation from alcohol. Some studies have found that non-tasters might have greater preference for alcohol, consume more alcoholic beverages and be at greater risk for alcoholism.

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The Supertaster Test in Action

The Rachel Ray Show

The Rachel Ray Show

Blue Ribbon Hunter

Blue Ribbon Hunter

Serious Eats

Serious Eats

Let Me See Your Tongue

Let Me See Your Tongue

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An increased number of taste buds has an impact on the way food tastes. Because food preferences are influenced by taste, the extra taste buds also have an impact on diet. Genetic differences in taste are increasingly being studied because diet shapes risk factors for many chronic diseases. The Supertaster Test is a simple diagnostic tool that will help determine if you are a supertaster. It is the same assay used extensively in University classrooms and research laboratories across the country.

Marissa Beck, Registered Dietitian, Columbia University.

It’s my job to stay apprised of the latest developments in medicine and technology. The Supertaster Test is the first tool I’ve come across that helps categorize taste – an important predictor of diet and health. It’s an indispensable tool for the health-conscious food lover.

Sara Calabro, Medical Technology Investment Digest