Taste the difference: How our genes, gender and even hormones affect the way we eat

The Independent:

Try it, it’s delicious!” I often urge my children, bossily. And although I don’t say it out loud, I feel equally baffled when adults are really faddy eaters or don’t share my adoration of a particularly tasty morsel. It turns out I’m not a food fascist but contrary to popular belief, there is no one version of delicious. Some of us have a far stronger sense of taste than others (not necessarily a good thing) and a host of factors ranging from mood to gender to our sense of hearing (really) can impact heavily on our perception of flavour.

Psychologist Linda Bartoshuk and her colleagues first coined the term “supertaster” in the 1990s. In their research, they noticed that some people seemed to have a much higher taste response than others. But don’t be fooled by the label. We’re not talking about a superior palate . Far from it, Bartoshuk found that supertasters – which make up around 25 per cent of the population – carry a double copy of a gene which makes them super-sensitive to bitter tastes. Among the things they hate are green vegetables, grapefruit juice, coffee and soy products, as well as overly sweet things. At the other end of the spectrum – also 25 per cent of the population – are non-tasters, whose “pastel world” of flavours is far less sensitive, with the remaining 50 per cent somewhere in between.

Read the whole story: The Independent

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