Sense of Taste Wins 5th Place


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I have always been an extremely picky eater. It seems that everybody else likes many more foods than I do, and I have never known why. I was exposed to many foods as a child, most of which I don't remember, but now that I am older and choosing what foods I do and do not eat, I find myself eating the same things. Why did my taste buds do this to me?

First off, I looked up some facts about taste buds and our sense of taste in general. In
this article, it says that we recognize four main tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. The taste buds that specifically recognize these tastes are in different sections of the tongue.
tastebud.gif
I also found that as an infant, we have taste buds not only on our tongues, but also on the sides and roof of our mouth, making us much more sensitive to different foods. As we grow older, we lose the taste buds on the sides and roof of our mouth (we still have almost 10,000 taste buds though), but these taste buds also become less sensitive. If you hated spicy food as a kid, you might be able to enjoy it now.

It turns out that certain medications, smoking, lack of proper vitamins, head injuries, brain tumors, chemical exposure, and radiation exposure can cause taste disorders, which alters or eliminates taste completely.

Our sense of taste is the weakest of our five senses. Girls generally have more taste buds than boys, which perhaps describes the stereotype that boys will eat anything and everything, while girls are more selective. Our taste buds are most sensitive right after a night's sleep as well.

So why do we all like and dislike certain foods? Our taste buds are all different. This article talks about how people who are especially sensitive to strong flavors are called "supertasters" and can have up to twice as many taste buds as a normal taster. People who are "supertasters" are subject to this by their gene pool, something dating back centuries where this strong sensitivity was an indicator for people not to eat unsafe foods. A person's taste also depends on their brain and genes, and since we all have different genes, we all like and dislike certain flavors.

What sort of foods do you hate?

5 Comments

Great blog! It had a lot of new information thats was kind of shocking! Who knew we would have taste buds all over in our mouth as babies? Very cool and its really neat our food appeal can change in time. I wonder if it is actually true that you are supposed to feed babies healthy food so they will like the when they are older. It seems a little off if we loose a lot of our taste buds when we mature and can like foods we didn't like before. Certainly something that would be good to research!

Interesting how different genes are linked to different taste buds! Perhaps that has to do with why different cultures are linked to their own foods. Various cultures use spices and herbs specific just to their regions, so I wonder if that has to do with why many of those foods aren't always enjoyed by anyone outside that culture. I also thought that it was interesting that girls have more taste buds than boys because it really does always seem as though girls are more picky. Most boys I know will eat anything!

This is a great topic, it definitely shed some light on the topic for me. I didn't know a lot of the information that you posted, like girls being better tasters than boys. I used to hate Mexican food and now it's one of my favorites. I figured I just learned to like it, but it's cool to know that the buds are always changing. I also didn't know what we had taste buds on the roof of our mouths. Very interesting.

Great blog! I've also been a picky eater and now I have an idea why! When I was young, I really loved sweets. Not as in a normal attraction like many children usually have to sugar, but I could eat it all the time. I guess all the sugar also contributed to my picky ways, but the appeal to sweets definitely remained the same.

Awesome topic! I used to hate seafood but now I love it. I've always wondered why you "grow" into some tastes. Here is another little articlethat has some facts about the tongue, some of them you had already mentioned.

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