Sweet Vindication for Supertasters (but not too sweet)

Posted on February 1st, 2003 in Engineerboy by EngineerBoy

Taste Like Dirt!

I am not a freak.  I am not picky.  I am not hard to please, inflexible, or timid.  I am…a supertaster.  The scientific validation of what I have always known has set me free.  Foods like coffee and mustard literally make me gag.  Raw tomato tastes like acidic dirt (or what I imagine acidic dirt would taste like) to me.  Almost all beans, with the exception of green beans, are un-choke-down-able.  Peanuts are disgusting.

I am not a timid or picky eater.  I am always willing to try new foods, and I eat all sorts of strange things (snails, calamari, oysters, pop tarts, kipper snacks).  I love different ethnic foods (Chinese, Italian, Lebanese, Greece-y) and am not a restaurant snob.  However, there have always been certain foods that I cannot eat.  Not ‘will not’ eat…cannot eat, at least not without having to control the gag reflex.  And all my life I have been referred to as picky and/or inflexible with regards to food, when I knew that I wasn’t.  I didn’t know what I was, but I knew that I wasn’t picky.  I didn’t have a choice.  I was born this way.

Supertasters
I was born a supertaster.  Supertasters (25% of the population) have a higher concentration of taste buds on their tongue, and experience tastes at three to five times the level of normal tasters.  The scientists involved say that supertasters live in a neon taste world, while normal tasters (50% of the population) live in a pastel world.  The remaining 25% are the non-tasters, who are nearly impervious to bitter and spicy foods.  The non-tasters are the folks who eat any and everything, regardless of taste, texture, bitterness, or spiciness.  Supertasters, on the other hand, are particularly sensitive to bitter tastes, which are prevalent in things like coffee and vegetables.

When I first read about the concept of supertasters, I immediately knew they were describing me.  As a kid my mother adapted our household meals so that there was always stuff I could eat.  I know that it was probably difficult for her, and troublesome, and she did always try to get me to eat my vegetables and to try new things.  As a kid I was horrified at the thought of new foods, because I knew that a) it was impolite to not eat the food on one’s plate and b) everyone figured that a child who resisted a certain food was ‘just being picky’, and they pressured the child to ‘just try it without thinking you’ll hate it’ and it would be okay.  So I avoided, to the extent a child can, any circumstances where I would be forced (FORCED) to choke down food that was making me gag.  Not by evil people, but by people who just did not understand.

As I got older I got much more open to new foods, because everyone respects the food choices made by adults, and if I didn’t want to eat something I didn’t eat it.  This opened up a whole gastronomic world to me that I had avoided because of the minefield of forced ingestion.  I love trying new foods, and I will willingly try anything once.  But there is a list of foods that I cannot eat.  I regularly revisit this list, just to see if things have changed, and they never do.

Coffee Clash
Example number one is coffee.  I *love* the smell of coffee brewing.  It smells like heaven.  But I cannot drink coffee in any form.  I don’t care how much sugar, cream, foam, or flavoring you put in it, it still tastes horrible to me.  HORRIBLE.  I don’t care if you chill it, decaffeinate it, latte it, french press it, freeze dry it, or slow roast it.  I hate it.  I love my wife, but I won’t even kiss her after she drinks it.  DisGUSTing.  And I *want* to like coffee.  Not drinking coffee puts one in a very strange social no-man’s-land that not many people know about.  I don’t “go out for coffee”.  I don’t “take it black or with cream”.  At least Starbucks serves some pretty delicious hot chocolate, so I don’t end up sitting there like a dope with a coke in the coffee shop.  When people learn that I don’t drink coffee, it brings them up short, as if I said I didn’t really believe in gravity.  Not that they don’t understand what I’m saying, but it’s just the whole concept is foreign…I mean, gravity is a natural law, and one’s beliefs have nothing to do with it.  Believe me, in American society today there is a natural law that all socialization must eventually revolve around coffee.

Yellow Journalism
Did you know that many, many menus do not specify the presence of mustard on hamburgers and hot dogs? “A delicious, 1/3 pound burger, cooked to order, with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles…” says the menu.  And you order it, you get it, and guess what’s smeared on the bread? Clotted yellow crap, that’s what.  Mustard.  You can pick off the pickles and onions, if you like, but you can’t unabsorb the nasty  mustardiness from the bread.  If you ask about it, the waitron will look confused, because “well….hamburgers just come with mustard….it’s assumed, you know?” If I don’t know the condiment standards of a particular establishment, I now always order “and NO mustard”, regardless of what the menu says.  That ensures that I (usually) don’t get mustard, but many times it also generates a condescending reference to how their burgers don’t come with mustard, and a feigned look at the menu to verify that I, as the consumer, was just too stupid to have read that for myself.

The One Reason I Like Lawyers
Thankfully (for me) there are many, many people who are seriously allergic to peanuts.  As in life-threatening.  This means that if you order something with no peanuts, people usually take you seriously, as a potential opponent in civil litigation.  Nothing prompts a restaurant to get an order right like the threat of a lawsuit.  They also always know which dishes have peanuts in them, specifically to service their allergic clientele.  I gleefully and unashamedly take advantage of this situation, because I love many foods that traditionally come with peanuts, but I HATE PEANUTS, IN ALL FORMS.  Even if “there’s just a little bit” and “you can’t even taste it”, trust me, I can.  I’m actually shuddering with repulsion thinking of the times I’ve accidentally eaten things that were peanut-ridden.

Parents, Please Listen to Your Children
I know that there are bratty little kids who claim to hate every single food.  They are just being ornery.  But parents, you KNOW if that’s what your child is like, because they do it with other stuff, too.  If you have a kid who will sit without television for hours while you wait for them to choke down a dozen peas, you may have a supertaster for a child.  You may also just have a stubborn brat, but, as a parent, I know that you’ll know the difference, at least eventually.  If you have always been able to eat everything that was put in front of you, then bully for you.  But don’t bully your kid once you’ve realized that they really do HATE what they’re eating, and it does TASTE LIKE DIRT, and it is MAKING THEM GAG.

There have to be realistic limits, but please don’t automatically assume that your child is faking.  I was that child once, and although we did have some conflict over it, my Mom really did a remarkable job of putting food on the table that the whole family could eat, including me.  And supertasters really don’t like vegetables.  That’s a sad fact, but as a kid virtually all vegetables tasted like dirt to me…and nasty dirt, at that.  And if you force your kids to eat foods that are, quite literally, disgusting to them, you may be laying the groundwork for future eating disorders.

Also, this is not junk science.  Go to your favorite web/news sources and search for ‘supertaster’.  This is very real.  It’s also very real vindication for all of the others like me who have been persecuted over the years.  And it turns out that,  not only were we not picky, the actual issue is that only we were able to  experience all the flavor of foods, and that some of them are just disgusting.  Everyone thinks they have taste.  But only the few, the proud, the supertasters, have been scientifically proven to have three to five times the taste of rest of  you.

29 Responses to 'Sweet Vindication for Supertasters (but not too sweet)'

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  1. Susanh said,

    on July 31st, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Hello,
    We have discovered recently that my daughter is a supertaster, hands down! As her mom, I am so very worried about her health. What do supertasters eat besides peanut butter, white bread, strawberry jam, Grape Nuts, milk, grape tomatoes, grapes, and cheese pizza? Any thoughts you have on the topic would be very much appreciated. Thank you! Susan

  2. EngineerBoy said,

    on July 31st, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Susanh,

    Well, when I was a kid I had a similarly limited diet, although not exactly the same. The only vegetables I liked were green beans (cut, canned, not fresh), corn (canned or on the cob), celery, and iceberg lettuce (but no other types of greens). I liked all manner of processed junk food, of course, and in retrospect one of the reasons for this is that they were consistent. A Twinkie always tastes like a Twinkie, so once I knew I liked Twinkies I could always eat them. There is no such consistency in freshly prepared food. This also meant that I ate a lot of fast foods – not because I liked them so much better, but because wherever we were in America, a Big Mac tastes like a Big Mac, and if I ordered it without the vile pickles I knew I could eat it.

    My own daughter is a supertaster and it was difficult finding anything reasonably healthy for her to eat. She liked bread (or toast) with butter, certain cereals, roast beef with au jus, pop’n fresh biscuits, pop tarts, iceberg lettuce (plain, no dressing), canned corn, canned green beans, mac and cheese, and a few other things. I made a deal with her – we would always have “safe” foods available in the house, but when the family meal was served she had to at least try a small taste of the dishes and she could choose to eat only the ones she liked. If she didn’t like them she could go make herself something safe and reasonably balanced. Similarly, when eating out, she was not forced to eat strange, new things and also had the option of ordering something different (within limits) if the first dish turned out to be too exotically prepared.

    She’s in college now and a vegetarian, and is slowly opening up to new foods – that’s just about when it happened to me, too, my late teens/early 20’s.

    In short (if that’s possible at this point), each supertaster can have very different specific likes, although there are some universal dislikes (fresh vegetables, fishy fish, etc). What worked best for me, and then with my daughter, was to a) never force (or threaten to force) the child to eat anything they are refusing, b) don’t simply let the child eat what they want, c) within the limits of what the child will eat, try to maintain as much nutritional balance as possible, and d) have some type of deal in place where you give your flexibility on making sure “safe” foods are available, and the child gives their agreement to at least try small tastes of new foods regularly.

    That last one seems to be the important one, because eventually, and to their own surprise, the child will discover a new food that they like. Once that happens the deal gets easier to enforce, because as children get older they realize that their life will be easier if there are more things they can eat.

    None of the above actually answered your question – sorry about that. But only your daughter and you working together will be able to find out what else she can eat.

    Good luck!

    Scott (aka EngineerBoy)

  3. Susanh said,

    on August 4th, 2008 at 6:06 am

    Hi Scott,
    Actually, you did answer my question in a round about way. :)

    I appreciate all that you mentioned. We are trying to gather information about this phenomenon. It seems as though it is relatively new to the public. No one I’ve talked to has ever heard of it and think I’m a bit nutty. That’s ok. I live with my daughter and know that we are right on track with this. I like your thoughts on how to handle food and eating. Dinner has always been a royal battlefield and I am tired of fighting. She is too. Now, I try to give her at least one or two things I know she can eat, and then one bite of something she might like. No matter what she does or doesn’t eat, nothing is mentioned about food. However, sweets are not even an option during the week unless she eats very well. Sigh…it is hard! But, you are right, all we can do as a family is continue to make headway slowly each day.

    Thank you kindly for your encouragement, one parent to another. :)

    Susan

  4. Didi said,

    on April 3rd, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Hello!

    I also recently realized that my problems with bitter things are justified and real, when I saw an exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science dedicated especially to us, supertasters :-)

    I think I’m a partial supertaster, though, because even though I have serious problems with things like coffee and alcohol, I love vegetables and have not found any that are unpleasant…

    By the way, do you ever have problems with sweet things? I wonder if this is due to supertaster-ness, but I have a similar response to most artificial sweet things (that is, not found in nature like fruits but prepared by man and crammed with sugar and corn syrup). Desserts, pastries, candy bars, cakes etc. make me sick. They feel WAY too sweet on my tongue, and once they reach my stomach, they seem to want to come back.

    Anyway, I’m glad you have been set free!
    :-)
    Didi

  5. EngineerBoy said,

    on April 3rd, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Well, I don’t have a specific problem with sweet stuff, but I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. There are a few sweet foods that I like, but I’m not a dessert/candie/cookie/cake type of person. However, I have to have sweet drinks, either colas, juice, sweet tea, or other – I don’t like plain water or unsweet drinks with meals, so I guess that’s where I get my sugar fix!

  6. Emily said,

    on July 19th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Hey,
    I’am a Supertaster. When I was younger my mother used to battle me every night over such things as tomatoes, beans, peas, etc… Sure, it was torture and I was terrified of the yearly ‘tomatoe tasting’ she made me do at least once a year (she thought I would magically grow a love for it through this process) as if it was a shot. I don’t blame her, and it made for some pretty funny memories (or terrifying, however you want to look at it). While I go crazy over bread and rice, I love it and probably would starve without these two things.

    Contrary to most Supertasters who hate veggies, I love broccoli. It has to be covered in cheese, tromping any health benefits, but still broccoli.

    I like sweets, but if I touch them to the tip of my tongue it starts on fire. That part of your tongue perceives sweet and I wish I could chop it right off! Where as I love sweet things towards the back and sides of my tongue, that perceives the bitter (and maybe sour). It makes sense, but I don’t see why I would want to taste sweet things on the bitter tasting area. I’m thinking it may be because that’s the only place on my tongue with no fire hazards?

    Anyway, just wanted to share!

  7. Cesar said,

    on October 15th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Well, I don’t have reactions like the author, but one food item I can’t eat at all is broccoli (although I don’t have a problem with cauliflower). Also, I don’t care for candy, sodas, and most beverages because they are cloyingly sweet to my taste. In fact, even O.J., grape juice, and the like must be watered down before I drink them. However, I’m a coffee drinker (I’m from Puerto Rico, after all) and find no offense with a cup of good coffee. So, perhaps, there are gradients in the continuum from non-tasters to supertasters. It should be, I don’t see why it would be that you have a bunch of taste buds, just enough, or not that many.

  8. EngineerBoy said,

    on October 19th, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Cesar,

    I think the three classifications (supertaster, normal taster, non-taster) are meant to describe the broad categories, and there is still a lot of granularity along the spectrum.

    Also, there are many people in all categories that have very strong and specific likes and dislikes that don’t have anything to do with the density of fungiform papillae on the tongue. In fact, not even all supertasters have similar likes, dislikes, or reactions.

    My point in writing the article was to relate my personal epiphany when learning something new that I knew described me, as it was quite enlightening and a relief to know that there were many other people with the same condition, and that it had a logical and rational explanation other than just being “picky”.

    More information can be found here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supertasters

    Thanks for posting.

  9. Cori said,

    on June 16th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Scott,

    I discovered today that I’m a supereater and your article is quite familiar! I’m fascinated and yet relieved to learn about this. I, too, was extremely picky as a child. My tastes were different than yours, though, as can be expected. My dislikes were of many veggies, but not all (I liked tomatoes and pickles for example). I remember an extreme dislike for lima beans, peas, most leafy greens (except iceburg), and also baked fish, as well as many other things which I can’t remember right now. My mother sure can tell you, though. To this day she talks about how picky I was and that she had to strain all the veggies out of her chicken vegetable soup. I remember sitting for hours at the dinner table after dinner because I simply REFUSE to eat a certain vegetable. I recall winning most of the time–2 hours and ONE bite later. There was also the napkin trick and the fill my mouth, slip to the bathroom and flush the contents. There were a few times I had to swallow things whole with my milk (although I wasn’t a huge fan of milk, either).

    Wow, this is funny and brings back memories. Now, I refuse to make any child eat something they don’t like as I understand if you don’t like it, you don’t like it!

    Amazingly, now, in my mid-30s, there are actually few things I don’t like or won’t eat. I will eat/try just about anything and actually love a lot of the foods I hated as a child. Not that I drank beer as a child (I hated even the smell of it after all) but I remember the day in college that I was reluctantly sipping a glass and then suddenly it was like a switch–I simply LIKED it (but not the bitter kind, of course)! In fact, around that time, I, like you, seemed to broaden my food horizons considerable, too.

    But there are a few things I still can’t stand like coffee (I have to load it up with LOTS of cream and sugar), ale beers or any bitter beer or alcohol, actually most bitter foods/drinks I can’t do–quinine anyone? Yuck!!! I also still have a violent aversion to celery and peppers (ALL kinds of peppers). I don’t know what those 2 are about, but I can’t even smell them without gagging. I don’t know if they are a part of my supertastiness or just something I have an aversion to. My husband says (about peppers) “You don’t know what you are missing!”. I tell him it’s not a choice. I simply can’t go near them.

    Anyway, thanks for your article! I feel vindicated at least somewhat. I really wish this info had been around when I was little so I didn’t have to go though hellish mealtimes–I actually dreaded dinner! I am now more informed so that if a child of mine inherits my supertaster genes, I’ll know how to handle it!

    Cori

  10. EngineerBoy said,

    on June 21st, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Cori,

    Thanks for sharing, it’s been gratifying to see the response to this posting from so many other folks dealing with similar issues.

    I read an article last week that talked about a recent study that explored the use of salt by supertasters, and to the surprise of the researchers we actually used more salt, when their expectations were that our sensitivity to tastes would cause us to tone it down. However, what they found is that the salt taste helps mask any bitter taste that is present, and it’s the bitterness that most supertasters are most sensitive to. The article is here:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/06/16/salt.taste/index.html?hpt=T2

    I’ve always used salt generously, and this helps explain it, at least partially.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  11. Kim said,

    on June 21st, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Hi,

    Thanks for a great article. You summed up so many feelings I had, too! I found out about supertasters about 10 years ago and I couldn’t believe someone actually was describing my experience. Finally. I wasn’t just picky. There’s something really going on with my taste buds!

    I’m nearly 40 now and still have a very limited range of things I eat. I’m trying to do better now that I have a little one, because if she’s not a supertaster I don’t want to limit her, but it’s challenging because I don’t cook green veggies… I don’t know how to! I’ve never been able to eat them! So I’m trying to learn how to prepare veggies well and try new things myself to at least eat the broadest range of healthy food I can. Thankfully my husband eats just about everything.

    My list of things I absolutely cannot eat/drink: coffee (smells like bliss but tastes AWFUL), beer, onions/peppers (one piece in a pot of sauce and… ewww… I shudder just thinking about it), pretty much every green veggie. Stuff that’s too sweet. I can eat, say, an ice cream sundae, but only so much topping and the goop at the bottom? Ugh. My husband eats it. Frosting gets scraped off of cake ’til only a tiny layer remains. Two bites of cheesecake and I’m done.

    The thought of onions makes me want to throw up. I wish I could somehow share the experience of how bad it is with people, so they would understand I’m not “just picky” or “I could just pick out the pieces.” Like you and mustard. I share your mustard dilemma… with onions… they are EVERYWHERE. I eat fettucine alfredo at Italian restaurants, because, guess what, onions are in everything else.

    I often wonder what it must be like to be a non-taster, where the entire menu of a restaurant is full of things you like to eat. It must be really nice. But it also is good to know there’s a physical reason behind why I eat the way I do. Oh, and in regards to your comment on salt, I have always used a lot, too. I hadn’t read that article – good to know!

    Thanks for a great post.

  12. Rebecca said,

    on July 29th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    This thread is like a supertaster support group. Everyone here is mirroring my own relationship with food and people who have always derided me as a “picky” eater. Growing up my parents never forced me to eat foods that I COULDN’T eat, but that didn’t stop others around me from constantly trying to make me eat foods – confident in the fact that they were sure I would like it if I just tried it. Wrong. Oh, so wrong.

    I also wonder what it would be like to be a non-taster, and I would love for a non-taster to spend a day in my shoes so that they understand how certain foods taste to me…

  13. Richard said,

    on August 3rd, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Scott,

    Thanks for this article. I had no idea until tonight that there was such thing as a supertaster. I must have it big time. I googled “coffee gag”. I think mine is getting worse. If I even slightly smell coffee I gag. Peppermint helps a lot. I even have to suck on a pepperment these days to smoke a cigar! I am a big eater, and enjoy a very wide variety of foods. I am not picky at all. I will try anything.
    These things are repulsive:
    Coffee
    Tobacco
    garbonzo beans, hominy, most beans
    egg plant
    rye
    citrus rind
    diet soda
    mustard
    dill pickles
    brusell sprouts, cabbage etc
    tunips
    corned beaf
    okra, green tomatoes, kale
    I feel like gagging just from reading the list

    These things I am not inthusiastic over:
    many fruits and mellons
    bell peppers
    heavy garlic
    asparagas
    alcohol other than margaritas.
    yogurt
    rubarb, mincemeat (whatever that is)

    I like:
    all chocolates but am addicted to dark chocolate.
    Most sweet rich desserts ( I fell in love with my wife, because she makes great pies)
    anything sweat and salty
    meat potatoes rice bread

    I hope this helps.. Also I am an engineer, so maybe supertasters are also supersmart….any data on that?

    Richard

  14. EngineerBoy said,

    on August 3rd, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Rebecca,

    Yeah, I’ve always wanted to have the non-tasters spend some time as a supertaster so that they could understand what it’s like. And, yeah, I’ve also wondered what it would be like to be a non-taster – is all food just bland, or do they get to experience the full variety of tastes and textures and it’s just that none of them are repugnant?

    Scott

  15. EngineerBoy said,

    on August 3rd, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Richard,

    I haven’t seen any data correlating supertasting with smarts, but I also don’t see any reason why they *wouldn’t* be related! And I’m 100% with you on your gag list, there’s nothing there that I eat.

    From your secondary list, I do like asparagus, garlic, and yogurt, but those have become more appealing as I’ve gotten older and used to be on my “absolutely not” list when I was younger (I’m 49 now).

    And there are very few alcoholic beverages that I enjoy the taste of. I also like margaritas and other sweet mixed drinks, like mojitos. I’ve also developed a taste for single-malt scotch as I’ve gotten older. But most beer and alcoholic drinks do nothing for me (taste-wise).

    And I’m somewhat lucky in that I don’t have a huge affinity for rich sweets. I like them, but don’t really crave them, although I have a tendency to always have sweetened drinks with my meals, so maybe that fulfills the typical sweet-tooth that most supertasters seem to have.

    And meat+potatoes+rice+bread describes the majority of my meals.

    Glad you found out about supertasters, there’s a lot of good info out there about it. I particularly like this finding, quoted from Wikipedia:

    “This increased taste response is not the result of response bias or a scaling artifact, but appears to have an anatomical/biological basis.”

    Meaning, we’re *not* being “picky”!!

    Scott

  16. EngineerBoy said,

    on August 3rd, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Kim,

    With regards to green veggies, there was initially only one that I could eat, and that was canned Del Monte Cut Green Beans, but *not* the French, Seasoned, Whole, or Italian. And fresh green beans from the produce section make me gag. But, to this day I still eat the canned ones all the time, although now I’ve added asparagus and broccoli to the green vegetable rotation, as well as some zuccini/squash.

    And good luck with your little one! My oldest daughter is also a supertaster, and we just had a little one and we’re waiting to see how her tastes develop, since my wife is a normal taster.

    Thanks for posting!

    Scott

  17. Levi said,

    on December 7th, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I am a supertaster. Eat your food, stop whining. This is not some unknown condition. Everybody wants a diagnosis to explain everything. Then again… I did google this… Ah! I’m being a hypocrite!

  18. Jamie said,

    on May 18th, 2011 at 2:10 am

    It has always been so frustrating being the “picky eater.” I too remember torturous mealtimes where I would have to stay at the table until I gagged down peas or corn or something of the like. I HATE when parents argue… I mean, if you don’t like something you don’t like it! I can’t help what I taste and why would I make it up just to cause trouble? I personally can’t fathom how people refer to a salad as “delicious.” I can choke one down for the health benefits (provided there is no dressing or cherry tomatoes in it) but it is gross to me. I WANT to like things, it’s just that I can’t.

    Things I Hate:
    cauliflower
    corn (gag)
    peas (gag)
    celery (ewww)
    mustard
    mayo
    nearly any sauce, including soy
    most nuts/nut butters
    yogurt, especially greek (shudder)
    milk
    tomatoes are one of the WORST. I try so hard to like them but I simply cannot.
    pickles
    seafood
    cucumbers
    most cheeses
    salsa
    avocado
    most meats
    most rice
    any chinese or asian food, I gag at the smell. Like sweet and sour chicken? Thinking of it makes me want to vomit. There is nothing at Panda Express, for example, that I can eat (if I could even stand walking into the building).

    I actually like carrots, broccoli, spinach a teensy bit, peanuts, and I have a sweet tooth. I love almost any fruit – I tolerate grapefruit and sometimes like it depending on the bitterness of the individual fruit.

    I wish I could enjoy more foods. Me going out to eat, or even to someone’s house, is pathetic. I feel bad not taking anything they offer me, but I would if I could.

  19. EngineerBoy said,

    on May 18th, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Jamie,

    Yeah, I hear you. I can say that now that I’m older (approaching 50), I’m getting more tolerant of food that I didn’t used to like. I don’t know if that’s typical for supertasters, but I’m glad for it!

    Scott

  20. Kaarin said,

    on June 9th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Last night a friend suggested I might be a supertaster. I just sent for those test strips with the PROP solution, but as they may take up to two weeks to get to me, in the meantime I do wonder. Even the tastebud-count test is inconclusive to me; I see a high concentration of them at the tip of my tongue, but they spread out towards the back, it seems. Several foods came up in the discussion last night:

    – Onions – Raw or cooked I don’t like them, but raw is much worse. I can pick onions off a salad or burger, but if they’ve already touched my food, I can detect them, in taste and smell. I find their flavor to be way too dominant.
    – Beer – I’ve had one beer that I enjoyed, six years ago, on tap in Canada, and to this day I don’t know what it was. In my search, all I’ve come across were horrible bitter beers that I can’t choke down, and others say that my taste just isn’t refined yet. Whatever, it tastes like furniture polish!
    – Swiss cheese – Hated it as a kid, hate it now! It’s very bitter, but so many people I know love it!
    – Raisins – There’s something pungent about the flavor of raisins, and I can’t even describe what grosses me out about them. It’s too powerful a combination of fruit/sweet/bitter. I can’t even eat Raisinettes.
    – Ham – Far too salty, and a little more sweet than I think meat should taste. I can eat a small amount, like during holidays, but I can’t like it.
    – Peppers – Peppers of all kinds. Bell peppers just don’t taste good to me, and regardless of what everyone tells me, I know they’re spicy, even if it’s just a little. Over the weekend I ate an hors d’oeuvre that had a green pepper in it. I can handle green bell peppers, even if I don’t like them much. Turns out this was a jalapeno wedge that was scraped of its seeds (supposedly). My mouth burned painfully for several agonizing minutes! I felt like such a pansy! I was in the middle of a restaurant with tears in my eyes! Funny in retrospect, but sooo not so at the time!
    – Raw greens – it isn’t impossible for me to eat these, but the whiter my leaves, the better. Over the years, I learned that most things are bitter, especially those things that are best for me, so I taught myself to suck it up and eat them, but I never enjoy them. I always have to accompany a bite of greens with something else, cheese, meat, anything. Either that or make it go down as quick as possible. I’ve come to associate bitter veggies with health and tried to condition myself to experience it as a good thing. It’s not easy.

    Potatoes are my comfort food! But often I find they’re prepared with too much salt. I rarely use salt on anything. In fact, I rarely season anything at all when I cook, unless I’m cooking for others.

    I do have a considerable sweet tooth, but for more diluted sweetnesses (I cannot stand cake frosting, but I like ice cream, as long as it’s not rich). I like soft drinks, but I can’t drink anything with artificial sweeteners, be it aspartame or sucralose, I can taste it and I can’t stand it. Although, this particular aversion seemed to develop over the last several years (I’m almost 26 now)

    I also don’t enjoy the taste of any alcohol. I like to go out drinking with friends, but normally I can only nurse one or two drinks. Straight liquor is very hard for me to drink. Shots make me nearly gag.

    Anyway, I hate to go on and on about myself, but the point I’m trying to make is that while I’m waiting for the PROP test, I’m interested to hear the opinions of supertasters. Does it seem like I fall into this category, or could I be a normal taster who is just a wimp to several things? Don’t be afraid to tell me you suspect the latter!

  21. EngineerBoy said,

    on June 9th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Kaarin,

    It sure sounds like your dislikes fall in line with the standard supertaster preferences. Dark greens, bitter beer, hot/spicy food, pungent cheese, etc. It would be very interesting if you could post back the results of your testing, as I’d really be curious to see the results, if you care to share them.

    Thanks,

    Scott

  22. Aaron said,

    on June 22nd, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Hey All!
    I’m pretty sure I’m a supertaster too.. I can’t stand just about any vegetable. (Corn and Potatoes are the only ones I can eat), the rest make me gag. I couldn’t even get down a gram of ‘magic mushrooms’ at a bachelor party.

    I hate the taste of alcohol, but for the effect it produces, I suffer through shots. Generally straight Jack Daniels, due to it’s high alcohol content, I don’t have to drink too many.

    I have a serious sweet tooth though, my diet consists of mainly fast food, and candy. Lots of candy. I also drink lots of regular coke.

    I love most meat, but don’t care much for steak. I only ever put salt on a few things, like corn-on-the-cob, and flank-steak.

    I hate cheese! However, I love Pizza (with no vegies at all of course), and I love Cheese Fondue.

    I love Milk, but only 2%, I can’t stand 1%. I don’t like most fancy deserts, but do loving icing sugar and frosting.

    I really don’t care for fancily prepared food.

    Aaron.

  23. Kaarin said,

    on June 22nd, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I took the PROP test, but the strip only tasted slightly bitter to me. This means I’m a normal taster. I guess I’m just really finicky!

    Kaarin

  24. Susan said,

    on November 13th, 2011 at 1:18 am

    I’m a supertaster, but I don’t dislike vegetables; I dislike _cooked_ vegetables. I’ll eat almost any vegetable raw (exception for red lettuces), but the only ones I can readily eat cooked are corn & potatoes. I can choke down cooked green beans if required, but prefer not to. Put the raw ones in my salad, though, and I’m fine. My mother says all I ate through high school was salad, which is an exaggeration, though “my” salad bowl each night was the big wooden serving bowl of salad, after mom & brother had taken what they wanted from it. I easily ate 2 quarts of salad every night.

  25. T. said,

    on January 23rd, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Susan we are on the same page. I am a supertaster and I cannot eat most cooked vegetables except for potatoes and corn. I love carrots until they have been cooked. It doesn’t matter how lightly they are steamed or if they are roasted. Cooked veggies make me gag. I love iceberg and romaine lettuce but mixed greens are awful. I can’t drink coffee, I hate beef, sandwich/deli meats, mayo, mustard, and can only eat the breast of chicken. I dreaded having to eat away from home when I was younger. My parents were great. They found healthy foods that I enjoyed eating and made sure they were available for me to eat. Lots of fruits, raw carrots, peanut butter, raisins, and salads (often without any dressing), cereals (raisin bran, wheat chex, etc.) were my staples. Also, like many of you I have a sweet tooth. But I am not a big fan of cake icing (a little will do). It’s good not to feel so alone.


  26. on April 30th, 2014 at 1:04 am

    […] Featured image from: Cleverdonkey.com […]

  27. Sara said,

    on April 1st, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    I am a supertaster, and I am being honest here- it doesn’t sound like you are a supertaster, the foods you don’t like like peanuts or beans are not bitter/sweet and they are not typically disliked by supetyadters. The only thing you have in common with supertasters is that you don’t like coffee and maybe mustard. You can take a quick test and find out, there are videos on YouTube showing how to take the test.

  28. Sara said,

    on April 1st, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Alot of people assume that they are supertadyets because they are picky. Being a picky eater is different from being a supertaster. The only way to find out is by taking the test.

  29. EngineerBoy said,

    on April 5th, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Sara,

    If you’re talking about the phenylthiocarbamide test, yes, I’ve done that and am definitely a supertaster.

    I find it disheartening to find another supertaster, who probably had to endure a childhood of being called ‘picky’ when they knew they weren’t, commenting to another supertaster that they’re being picky.

    Even within supertasters, not everyone has the exact same tastes, preferences, and reactions – there is variation, just like with all things. Also, I’m in my mid-50’s now, and my experience has been that over time my reaction to tastes and spices has decreased in intensity, allowing me to enjoy more things than I did previously.

    In any case, I’m still happy that the concept of being a supertaster still gets attention and that people, including parents, are aware of it and don’t immediately label people as ‘picky’ just because they don’t like the things that they like, and vice-versa.

    Scott

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