A Taste for Change

A Taste for Change

-A child must taste something a minimum of nine times before they will “like” it.

-People will not eat as much food if it is served on a red plate.

-Temperature, texture, and odor affect how a food tastes to each person.

– Approximately 15% of adults have a taste disorder.

-Along with sweet and bitter, people can taste fat and calcium too.

-People are born with an aversion to bitter foods as a protection against toxins and poisons.

-If a food comes in a bite-sized form, more of it will be eaten no matter what it is.

-Vitamin deficiencies can alter one’s sense of taste

-If you are over the age of 60, a diminished sense of taste or smell might affect you.

-Certain common medications (thyroid for example) can reduce your sense of taste.

So, when someone says, “this food does not taste good,” a whole host of things can be going on. A variety of factors contribute to what is referred to as “taste or flavor.” To add to the confusion, what many people were taught about sense of taste has never been true or has recently been disputed. Taste buds for specific flavors cannot be pinpointed, they permeate the tongue. Our mouths and noses are not the only organs that taste. The brain has a gustatory cortex that is signaled by all of the senses – all 7 or 9 of them depending upon who you ask. According to Robert Margolskee, Director of the Monell Center, figuring out taste is even more mysterious than understanding vision. Trusting what you see and taste might not be as reliable as you think.

According to Bartoshek, if you sniff, chew or swallow, the brain undergoes different processes. Flavor is not the same as taste or smell, she further explains. This is because volatile molecules first triggered in your nose travel up to your brain like smoke up a chimney. So, there are 350-400 different flavors people experience and they are not the same across the population.

Flavor and taste play a role in how well people will follow a prescribed nutritional plan. They want it to taste good which makes sense. But, what could be detrimental for an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is how people make decisions about what to eat based purely on taste. Food is pleasure and a pleasing taste is important, but what if it is not “the” most important factor. Clients in Dr. Gala’s Healthy Living Program who struggle with giving up some foods like bagels or cheese may be served by evaluating why they eat those foods in the first place. Could habit, upbringing, finances, marketing, and even malady be the cause of the distaste? Focusing on a sense of lack from missing these foods does not help to alter nutritional habits. But experimenting with spices and new flavors, can help with changing or influencing a sense of taste. So, maybe it is time for a “change of taste” or is it a “taste for change?” Either way, keep your mind and your mouth open as you expand your taste horizons.

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