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Food-related links

The Super Taster vs. Taster vs. Non-Taster Debate
The theory here is that there are some of us that can't enjoy the subtleties of food because of lack of a concentration of papillae on the tongue which contain taste buds.

Fungiform Papillae Count* % of U.S. population* Category* Wes' Extrapolation
Fewer than
15 papillae
25% non-taster Eats raw chilies, salts everything before tasting it
Between
15-35 papillae
50% taster Enjoys a huge variety of foods.
Over 35 papillae 15% super-taster Picky eater as a child. Likes blander foods.

*From US reseach led by Professor Linda Bartoshuk.

The other interesting things about the super-taster findings are that super-tasters...

  • feel more pain from tongue lesions
  • sense fat in food more readily
  • may avoid cancer-preventing vegetables and fruits because they taste too bitter to them
  • Asians have a greater proportion of tasters and supertasters (no great surprise)
  • 35% of female Caucasians are supertasters, 10% of male Caucasians, ergo the popularity of chains in the Midwest
  • Less likely to become alcoholics

However, I think that some people just don't enjoy foods that are at all bitter, whether they are super-tasters or non-tasters. I can remember my first sip of a beer and how bitter it tasted; now it's actually too sweet for me to enjoy. There's also the smell factor, which is particularly true with organ meats (the "wet dog" smell) and some pickled or salted foods.

Here's an excellent article on super-tasters

 

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