Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, April 06, 2017


"If you want to know if you're a supertaster, you can start by putting blue food colouring on your tongue. You'll see that the papillae don't stain as well. They stain pink, or light blue. You can see them in a magnifying mirror."
"There's a distribution in how all of us experience taste. A supertaster is a person who experiences the most intense taste sensations. One of the factors that contributes to being a supertaster is how many tastebuds you have."
"Many people think that 'super' means it's better. It isn't better; it's just different."
"We [scientists] study supertasters because their food preferences are different, which makes their diets different, and that has impacts on risk factors for disease."
Dr. Linda Bartoshuk, psychologist, taste researcher, University of Florida

"Lots of black pepper and licorice in that one."
"Some coffee-cured bacon."                                                                               And there's some funk, too. I'm getting a wet shoelace."
Wine taster comments

What's at the core of foodie culture? Perhaps it is people who are easily bored by familiar tastes, yearning for the unfamiliar, their search inciting them to try out foods most people would not normally think of eating, but which may appear attractive to someone whose passion is different tastes, new tastes, challenging their tastebuds. Most people cherish a familiar repertoire of foods that appeal to them, and don't tire of the taste; they are undemanding and satisfied with their choices.

Others, it appears, with enhanced tastebuds because they've more of them, want new taste sensations, and they don't mind flirting with danger; unpasteurized milk products, uncooked meats, insects, lizards, snake meat, parts of animals not usually recognized as edible, imaginatively prepared.

Tastebuds reside upon papillae, located at the front of the tongue, with each of those papillae hosting an average of six microscopic tastebuds within surface tissue. People having less than 15 papillae are thought of as non-tasters; those with 15 to 35 papillae are considered to be average. Supertasters are equipped with at minimum 35 papillae, with roughly 25 to 30 percent of people being in that category.

Average tasters represent 40 to 50 percent of people, while between 24 to 30 percent are categorized as non-tasters, according to Scientific American. Dr. Bartoshuk's research has revealed that women are over-represented among supertasters at roughly 35 percent of the population, while 15 percent are male supertasters.

Because of this predisposition to flavour sensitivity people in that classification of supertasters are passionate about the food they eat and demanding of new experiences. In contrast, many among us who are considered to be in the non-taster category view food as a nourishing requirement for continued existence.

Those with increased taste sensibility appear to be aversive to bitter foods. Coffee, as an example, requires cream to make it palatable, and broccoli and grapefruit, appear to be bitter tasting. While non-tasters may strive in vain to identify complex flavours in foods, and don't count down the hours to their next meal, quite unlike supertasters sensitive to flavours and anxious to consume the next meal.

Tastebuds are easily damaged by smoking tobacco or through the drinking of too-hot liquids. On the other hand, tastebuds normally regenerate every ten to fourteen days. It is interesting that one of the most frequently commented on side-effects of smoking-cessation is a heightened sense of taste.

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