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Weight, Obesity May Be Regulated by Taste Sensitivity

You may remember a story I wrote several months ago about people who were born with more sensitive taste buds than others -- super tasters -- making them better able to differentiate between tastes.

New research has taken this a step further which could account for the obesity crisis in some way: People especially sensitive to the bitter compounds in foods tend to be super tasters and 20 percent thinner than "nontasters," those not sensitive to bitter tastes. On the not so good side for super tasters: They appear to eat less food overall -- be it healthy, bitter vegetables or high-fat foods.

On the flip side, according to researchers, the nontasters tend to like foods that are fattier, sweeter, hotter and more bitter.

The average body mass index of the three different kinds of tasters (more than 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is obese):

  • Super tasters: 23.5
  • Medium tasters: 26.6
  • Nontasters: Nearly 30

Recognize your taste buds may not be the best indicators of what foods are good for your body. Many people, especially those who are overweight, have developed a link between their taste buds and their brain that cause their body to produce insulin the moment they eat anything sweet. This can sabotage weight loss efforts because you will keep on having cravings for sugar and grains.

The good news is that your taste buds can be re-educated. This is simply a matter of cleaning your palate of grains to eliminate your body's learned response to sugar. Once your palate is cleared of grains, you'll notice that foods will taste better than ever.

USA Today October 29, 2004

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