Do You Have Superior Papillae?

Do You Have Superior Papillae?

In 2001, the rock band They Might Be Giants wrote this phrase in One of his songs: "John Lee Supertaster tastes more than we know." Everything has a flavor Some flavors must go "(John Lee Supertaster knows more than we know Everything has a flavor Some flavors must go).

Apparently, the members of the band are scientists or at least they have scientific thinking.

If you have a lot of food on your "I refuse to eat that" list, restaurants rarely have something on their menu that you like and a bite or two of dessert is enough for you, maybe you are a "superdegustador".

In the early 1990s, Linda Bartoshuk, professor and researcher of genetic variations in taste skills, coined the term "superdegustador" after observing that certain participants in her research presented abnormally high levels of taste., regardless of the food they consumed. As he delved deeper, he discovered distinctive physical characteristics that cause these intense taste perceptions.

Since these people also experience a burning mouth and have more intense oral sensations, Bartoshuk and his colleagues say that superdegustadores "live in a neon world".

This means that after eating cayenne peppers, for example, a super-taster might experience more pain in the mouth than other people because of capsaicin, a substance that gives peppers the itch. Oral touch sensitivity can make the fat in food less attractive.

While approximately 25 percent of the population meets the "super-taster" criteria, it is estimated that 15 percent are at the end of the spectrum. Another 25 percent are non-tasters, or people who lack a particular gene that allows them to detect the bitter taste. Most people fall into the middle category, or "normal", of tastes. Contrary to what the term suggests, non-tasters do perceive the flavors, but without so much intensity.

While your taste sensitivity is just one of several factors that can influence your eating habits and well-being, it can be a very important one.

People with refined tastes are great chefs, chefs and food critics. They can distinguish the subtle difference between texture and flavor of food, so food often becomes a hobby and an area of ​​interest.

Susan Albers, psychologist

Super strengths

An important advantage of this condition is the ability to enjoy foods that suit your preferences. While average tasters and non-tasters can describe nice foods as "pretty good", your superior tasting abilities stimulate stronger sensations.You just love him. You love it. "It's amazing!"

In some cases, this becomes a passion for all culinary things.

"People with refined tastes are great chefs, chefs and food critics - says Susan Albers, psychologist and author of 50 Ways to Soothe You Without Food (50 ways to calm down without food) and Eating Mindfully -. These people can distinguish the subtle difference between texture and flavor of food, so food often becomes a hobby and an area of ​​interest. "

Since your taste buds are surrounded by pain receptors, the more you have, the more likely you are to feel that the burning sensation or taste of tobacco is unpleasant or overwhelming for you. So it's no wonder that smoking is less frequent among super-tasters. You may experience a similar dislike with alcohol and fatty and acidic foods. For these reasons, says Bartoshuk, superdegustadores may have a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including lung cancer, head and neck, as well as cardiovascular disease.

Superdegustador characteristics could also explain why some children's Halloween candy lasts for months, while others, probably non-tasters, sweep them away in days or weeks.

"Superdegustadoras tend to avoid sweet foods high in fat, which makes them less vulnerable to heart problems and obesity - said Albers - This may be because they are more sensitive to fats, salts and sugars. Superdegustadores do not need much sweetness or fat in their meals, since even a little may be too much for them ".

The not so good side

Not all the factors that accompany a refined palate are good in terms of physical or emotional health. Often, super-tasters are considered "very demanding," says Bartoshuk, which causes frustration and in some cases ridicule.

You may experience anxiety before social events with food, for fear of offending the maker for serving few or no dishes that seem acceptable to you. Although personal preference varies, it is known that super-tasters do not like green vegetables or other foods of high nutritional value. If you are among those who hate vegetables, your risk of developing serious diseases, such as colon cancer, is greater.

Super-tasters are also more sensitive to the taste of salt. This may seem like an advantage, considering Americans' excessive sodium intake; it would be if that meant a lower consumption of salt. However, a study published in "Physiology & Behavior" in June 2010 proved otherwise.

In the study, a group of 87 adults mixed with superdegustadores and people with a softer taste perception, ate samples of canned chicken broth, soy sauce and pretzel sticks with varying amounts of salt.They were also asked to compare common French fries and cheddar cheese with their low sodium equivalents. While superdegustadores indicated a more salty taste in potato chips, broth and pretzels, they also showed more taste for the higher concentration of sodium in broths and cheeses. They also consumed higher foods more in sodium in general, compared to the average tasters and non-tasters. Salt seemed important to super-tasters, both for their preferences and for masking the bitterness of food.

Exceeding the American Heart Association's maximum recommended dose of less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day increases the risk of high blood pressure and its related complications. Therefore, although you may consume less sugary and high-fat foods, adding too much salt to your dishes may increase your low risk of heart disease again.

Male super-tasters seem to be "attracted to high-fat foods, which increases the risk of obesity," Albers said. This can also aggravate blood pressure and the risks of heart disease.

In a less serious aspect, as a superdegustador, you would have more difficulties than non-tasters to win "Fear Factor" and other shows like "eat this and win." "When I see someone win, I'm sure it's not a superdegustador ", said Bartoshuk.

Make it work

Put your taste buds to the test

The taste receptors themselves are too small to be seen without a microscope and the papillae are mushroom-shaped structures that surround them. If you are curious about your taste sensitivity, some materials that you may already have at home can help you resolve certain doubts. Although they do not compare to laboratory studies, this home test provides a useful visual guide and helps you to confirm if the "map" of your language matches the category of taste sensitivity that you think you have.

Materials: Blue food coloring Cotton swabs Magnifier Mirror

Directions: Coat the end of a swab with blue food coloring and then place the coloring on your tongue. In front of a mirror, hold the magnifying glass in front of your tongue. The pink protuberances are the porridge. If you have many, your language is one of super-taster. The average tasters and the non-tasters have fewer papillae.

For best results, compare your blue tongue with that of a friend or relative with different taste preferences, or with online images of that experiment.

Video Tutorial: What Does The Fungiform Papillae Do?.

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