Are you a supertaster?
Can’t stand most bitter foods? Have a severe aversion to olives, cabbage, black coffee or beer? It’s quite possible that you may be a supertaster.
Thanks to extra taste buds on your tongue, bitter flavors taste more strongly to you than they do to most people. Specifically, more than 35 papillae per 7 mm diameter circle on your tongue. Papillae are tiny structures on your tongue that contain your taste buds. It turns out that about 25% of people are supertasters; 25% are non-tasters; and the other 50% are somewhere in the middle. It’s been said that, for a supertaster, experiencing flavor is like feeling objects with 50 fingers instead of five.
No one knows exactly why, but women are more likely to be supertasters than men. Most parents probably assume that their children are supertasters, given that so many children have an aversion to vegetables. But with kids, there are other factors at work that lead them to turn up their noses at brussels sprouts.
How to find out if you are a supertaster:
There are several ways to determine if you are a supertaster without befriending a scientist. The easiest, though least reliable, way is to take the online quiz that guesses based on your food preferences.
A more reliable way is to use a cotton swab to apply blue food coloring to the tip of your tongue, covering at least 1/2 inch. Rinse your mouth gently with water. Place a plastic binder reinforcing ring (or punch a 7-mm hole in a piece of paper) over the blue area and count the pink bumps.
The papillae will stay pink while the rest of your tongue is blue, so they will stand out. You are a nontaster if you count fewer than 10 and if you have approximately 30 or more, you are a supertaster. If you do not wish to dye your tongue blue, you can certainly judge whether your are more or less sensitive to taste by simply looking at the density of papillae on the tip of your tongue, though they are much easier to see against a blue background.
Bonus fact: Supertasters have a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular and weight problems, but they run a much higher risk of colon, gynecological, and other cancers than non-supertasters. This is attributed to a drastically limited intake of green vegetables, due to the awful taste to supertasters.