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Taste Bud Savvy?


The under-ten crowd in my house uses strawberry toothpaste. I can't stand the smell of it, and I can't imagine not having minty-fresh breath. But they can't imagine using anything with even a hint of mint in it. Both of them react strongly to mint. In their lingo, mint is too "hot."

After reading an article this morning passed on to me by a colleague here at Science Buddies and then looking at the experimental procedure in one of our Human Biology science projects, I think I may have to buy some paper hole reinforcing rings and dig around in the kitchen cupboard for some blue food dye.

I've long questioned my own palate. I am pretty sure I don't taste things with as much "refinement" as others. I watch shows like Iron Chef or The Next Food Network Star, and I am constantly amazed at how the judges "describe" the taste of food. I know such subtleties as they mention would go unnoticed by my tongue. I'm notorious, in fact, for being a super-salter, but I think it likely I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum from a "supertaster."

Extreme Tasters

Supertasters have extremely sensitive taste buds... or maybe it's more accurate to say that they have far more taste buds than some people, which makes them more sensitive to certain tastes. For example, supertasters often react strongly to things that are bitter or salty or sweet.

If you're a picky eater, it's possible there's a reason!

You can put this to the test by doing a survey in your house. The experiment is simple, but make sure you are cautious about hygiene (and germs) as you perform the test. With a bit of testing and a few blue tongues, you can classify your friends and family as non-tasters, supertasters, or average tasters.



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