Our taste buds help determine our weight, food preferences – and maybe even our jobs! Here are the facts:

  • Our taste buds have influenced menu ideas for centuries. Basically, there’s a reason we like to eat fatty foods with sharp-tasting foods. Like a fatty steak with a glass of wine, or fatty cheese with the sharp taste of a pickle. It’s because eating each of those foods on it’s own leaves a bad aftertaste in the mouth. But together, they cancel each other out, leaving the mouth feeling clean.
  • The reason you hate Brussels sprouts may be because you have more buds than the average person! There are people who are “super tasters” – and they have 10,000 taste buds – where as most of us only have 2,000. A lot of chefs, wine experts and food experts are super tasters – because they’re better able to differentiate flavors. But all those buds can be overwhelming – and make bitter foods unpalatable – things like Brussels sprouts and cabbage. There’s a simple test you can do to see if you’re a super taster. Simply, punch a hole in the corner of a piece of cardboard. Put a few drops of blue food coloring on your tongue. Next, place the card on the front of your tongue and press gently. With a mirror, count the raised taste buds visible in the hole — they won’t pick up the dye, so they’ll appear as pink dots against the blue. If you have 35 or more in that small hole punch, you may be a supertaster.
  • They can determine our weight. A study found that obese children had duller taste buds than average size kid, which means they had more trouble identifying foods by taste. Researchers think that all those bland taste buds cause children to eat more food, just to feel satisfied.
  • Did you know there are taste buds in your stomach? Taste cells line everything from the roof of your mouth to your stomach. And they all serve different, crucial purposes. For example, taste buds in your mouth help you quickly decide whether something’s fresh or sour. While your stomach’s taste buds determine whether a food is potentially toxic – and they can trigger you to vomit, to get the bad food out of your system ASAP.
  • Would you believe that you can train yourself to love ANY food – even cow tongue? Researchers say that most food likes and dislikes are purely psychological, because they’re tied to our memories. Like, if you have fond memories of baking raisin cookies with your Mom, then you’ll always love raisins. That’s why experts say you can usually trick yourself into liking any food, by eating it with other people who enjoy it, even something like cow tongue!

Lesson Expert

Meredith McKenna