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If You're a Fussy Eater

If you don't like vegetables, you may be missing out on nutrition, especially if you're dieting. You could even be part Neanderthal!

Approximately 25% of people don't like veggies that they categorize as "bitter," while another third don't taste that bitterness at all. The rest of us fall somewhere in between. But don't feel guilty, it's all genetic. People who are especially sensitive to strong flavors could be called "supertasters."

A large number of professional chefs are supertasters, and this also tends to be more common in women than in men, and in Asians and blacks than in Caucasians.

In the March 19th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Sumathi Reddy quotes researcher Linda Bartoshuk as saying, "Supertasters in general get everything more intense. When you put it all together we say that supertasters live in a neon food world compared to the pastel food world" everyone else lives in.

Supertasters have a higher density of the mushroom-shaped projections on the tongue that contain taste buds. You can tell if YOU'RE a supertaster by counting the number of taste buds in a small area after dying the tongue with food coloring. You can do this at home, but taste researchers test this by putting a bitter chemical such as PROP or PTC, substances that are present in many vegetables, on the tongue. Most people find these chemicals bitter, but not unbearable, while others don't taste them at all. For supertasters, the taste can even cause them pain.

Attention fussy eaters--we'll feed you well at our upcoming Nashville Symposium, where your ticket price includes breakfast Saturday and Sunday and lunch on Saturday.



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