Monday, January 08, 2007

Are You a Supertaster?

From You On A Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management (authored by the same two doctors who wrote last year's hit You: The Owner's Manual,) comes this educational explanation of supertasters. (The book is a fantastic education in the biology of food, how we taste, how we trigger satisfaction, and what causes overeating.)

How do you tell if you are a supertaster? Any of us in the food world have heard about these legendary folks with incredible pallets who taste food much more intensely than the rest of us. As it turns out, some people can be undertasters, while most of us are completely normal. Supertasters find fruits and vegetables very bitter. Undertasters tend to eat more sweets because it takes more taste to feel sated. According to the authors, about 25% of the population are supertasters while another 25% are undertasters.

Are you a supertaster? Here's how to find out (courtesy of Drs Roizen and Mehmet from You on a Diet):

The Saccharin Test: Mix one pack of saccharin (Sweet'N Low) into two-thirds of a cup of water....Now taste the water. You'll probably taste a mix of both bitter and sweet, but see which taste is stronger. If sweet is dominant, then it means you're probably an undertaster, and if bitter is dominant, it means you're probably a supertaster. If it's a tie, you are like half the population ... To be sure, you may have to do the test more than once to tease out the differences.

The Blue Tongue Test: Wipe a swab of blue food dye on your tongue and see the small circles of pink-colored tissue that polka-dot the newly painted blue canvas. Those are your papillae. Then put a piece of paper with a 4-millimeter hole, or the size of a hole punch in three-ring paper -- over your tongue. Using a magnifying glass, count the little pink dots you see in the hole. If you have fewer than five dots, it means you're an undertaster, while more than thirty indicate probably you are a supertaster.

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