It might not be your fault that you hate broccoli. Until recently I probably would have thought that someone who disliked broccoli just hadn’t tried hard enough, but now I know science behind it.
Ever heard of a “supertaster?” Yeah, neither had I until I happened to catch part of a show on PBS. For the life of me I can’t remember what the name of the show was, but it starred a British guy trying extreme foods and sniffing the world’s worst smells. He went on to say that a significant percentage of us are “supertasters” or people with a heightened sense of taste.
It makes sense to me (pun unintended) that there would be a wide range of individual variability for the sense of taste. When I think about the five senses, some of us have better visual, auditory, tactile, or olfactory skills. I just never thought of taste as something that would vary so greatly between people.
The facts about supertasters:
- *Twenty-five percent of the population are supertasters
- *Supertasters are more often are women
- *Supertasters are very sensitive to bitter foods. To compensate they load up on salt.
The downside of being a supertaster is that they are programmed to avoid bitter foods, which include many green veggies. Supertasters are at higher risk of developing colon cancer, but tend to be less vulnerable to cardiac issues and obesity.
There are tests out there that claim to determine whether or not you are a supertaster. I took this
highly unreliable online quiz to find out if I am a supertaster and it said I was. The questions didn’t ask me about foods, but instead where I like to eat. Strange. But like supertasters, I don’t like coffee, grapefruit, carbonation, chili peppers, and alcohol. But in contrast to the taste preferences of the average supertaster, I do like brussel sprouts, broccoli, and spinach. But I can’t eat arugula or kale raw as they strike me as insanely bitter. Kale chips with salt are divine though… Hmm…
Maybe now I get why some kids avoid veggies. But if I am a supertaster and I still eat broccoli, I guess there is hope that supertasters can overcome inherent biases. I love bland foods and I can’t stand spice. No wonder I started liking school lunch pizza — it probably had the salt I crave!