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Wellness

Are You a Super Taster? How Taste Impacts Your Appetite

5 Mins read

If you’re a super taster like I am, you’ll notice how this quality of a heightened ability to taste foods impacts habits such as appetite, sweet tooth tendencies, sugar addiction and alcohol cravings.

I don’t keep surgery treats in my home, because I’m more likely to have trouble stopping once I start eating sweets. It’s also rare that I enjoy the taste of alcohol, which influences how often I drink alcoholic beverages (it’s not as often as many of my peers, that’s for sure.)

Being a “super taster” means you are genetically more likely to have a higher taste sensitivity. This means that bitter foods taste more bitter, spicy foods taste spicier, and sweet foods taste sweeter. 

If you’re a super taster, you’re at higher risk of developing an insuppressible sweet tooth, especially if it’s in your DNA to have a higher preference for sweets in addition to being a super taster.

Certain genetic mutations cause some individuals to be more sensitive to taste than others and have a heightened ability to taste the foods they’re eating. Similarly, certain genetic mutations cause some people to have a higher preference for sweets than others, colloquially referred to as having a “sweet tooth”. It could be in your DNA to have a sweet tooth, or you might be lucky enough to not be as drawn to sweets.

A Super Taster with a Sweet Tooth: My CircleDNA Results

I am a super taster with a sweet tooth, and my CircleDNA results correctly identified this about myself. One of the most interesting things about CircleDNA is how accurately the DNA test confirmed certain traits of mine, while also informing me of new information about myself.

If you’re genetically inclined to be drawn to sweets, and you also have a heightened ability to taste sweetness, you’ll probably start to realize you shouldn’t keep sweets at home. 

While having a sweet tooth could increase your risk of sugar addiction, you can combat your risk of sugar addiction with various strategies. (Not keeping sweets in your cupboards is one of them, as is discovering low-calorie alternatives to your favourite treats.) Check out this list of healthy snacks to keep in your cupboards.

On a positive note, being a super taster helps people discriminate between low-fat and high-fat foods, which can help them combat their risk of obesity. 

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How Being a Super Taster Impacts Your Alcohol Intake

Super tasters can taste the bitterness of alcohol much more intensely, often making alcoholic beverages less appealing. This may be why I don’t crave alcohol, I’ve never had a drinking problem, and I consume alcohol quite rarely compared to most of my peers. 

One’s heightened ability to taste the bitterness or overwhelming taste of alcohol can definitely influence their overall alcohol intake. That doesn’t mean I never drink alcohol, but I don’t crave it or enjoy it as much as others do. 

The bitter taste of certain red wines, for example, can cause me to decline a glass at a family dinner if the wine being served is bitter. I tend to prefer fruitier, less bitter red wine.

Super Tasters VS Non-Tasters: Do Some People Have Trouble Tasting Food?

About 10% of the population are ‘non-tasters’. You might think non-tasters likely don’t find eating enjoyable, and therefore can easily watch their eating and watch their weight. This isn’t necessarily true for all cases. Sometimes non-tasters will have better appetite control, and be less likely to overeat since their taste buds are rarely rejoicing.

Non-tasters, however, often find it difficult to discriminate between low-fat and high-fat foods. This could increase their risk for obesity since many of them prefer high-fat foods. 

Non-tasters, however, do tend to be less picky eaters. Chances are, their diet will include more variation since their less powerful taste buds won’t lead them to crave certain foods. Non-tasters, therefore, may have a lower risk of nutrient deficiencies since they’re fine with eating a variety of different foods, all with different vital nutrients. 

The Pros and Cons of Your Heightened Ability to Taste Bitterness

Our ability to taste bitterness can protect us from consuming toxic foods, which is considered a pro of tasting bitterness. However, a heightened ability to taste bitterness could deter you from eating very healthy foods that are bitter tasting, such as kale, green tea, cocoa and many healthy cruciferous vegetables.

Many super tasters still eat bitter-tasting cruciferous vegetables and greens because we know they’re healthy. If you’re a super taster, you can find ways to enjoy healthy foods that taste bitter. For example, if you put kale in an omelette with cheese and sweet tomatoes, the kale won’t taste nearly as bitter. 

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Other Challenges of Being a Super Taster

Being a super taster is essentially a blessing and a curse. Delicious food tastes that much more delicious, but bitter greens, for example, taste that much more bitter. (It could be a challenge to enjoy eating salads for this reason.) 

If you’re eating something delicious, the fact that you’re a super taster could impact your appetite control and ability to avoid overeating. Imagine how common it would be to think, Wow, this tastes so good! I don’t want to stop! However, if you know this about yourself, you can experiment with strategies to control your portions. 

Super tastes are sometimes faced with the challenge of being extra sensitive to spices and seasonings. They have to be a bit more careful when they’re cooking their meals for these reasons. Not every super taster is highly sensitive to spices and seasonings, in fact, some absolutely love spicy foods. 

One challenge I myself noticed is how difficult it is to drink coffee black. This is the healthier way to drink your coffee, but as a super taster, the bitterness of coffee tastes way too bitter. Since I also have the “sweet tooth” gene, I tend to prefer cream and sugar in my coffee. 

I’m currently experimenting with intermittent fasting, and if I put any milk or sugar in my coffee (even if it’s artificial sweetener) I’m breaking the fast. So I have to drink my coffee black. I might not love the bitter taste, but I am getting used to it, and it’s becoming a little easier. 

How Your Genetics Play a Role in Your Eating Behavior

Many aspects of eating behaviour are genetic. You can be genetically more likely to have a higher or lower appetite control, and it can be in your DNA to be a super taster with a sweet tooth. Your genetics also partly determine which type of diet is more suitable for you, and which vital nutrients you may be at risk of being deficient in. (Certain genetic mutations can impact your ability to absorb nutrients or elevate your needs of certain vitamins and minerals.) To get your unique diet and nutrition report based on your DNA, order a CircleDNA kit and find out all sorts of interesting information about your dietary needs.

Erica Gordon
148 posts

About author
Erica Gordon is the Managing Editor and Director of Content at Circle Magazine. Erica majored in Psychology at UBC and has since founded The Babe Report and followed her passion for writing and journalism, with a focus on health and travel writing.
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