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If you’re the opposite – and desserts often taste too sweet, veg is too bitter and you can’t cope with anything spicy, you could be a “super-taster” with many over-sensitive taste buds. And that could be a good thing if you’re young, as researchers have found that kids with undersensitive taste buds are more likely to be obese. The German study looked at 193 children of varying weights. The obese youngsters had a harder time identifying whether the samples they tasted were sweet, salty or sour – meaning they could need more food to satisfy their taste buds, which inevitably had a knock-on effect on their waistlines.

Plants are more likely to contain toxins and, as children’s taste buds are more finely tuned to bitterness, their dislike of vegetables could be a survival mechanism. Cavemen’s offspring were less likely to eat toxic plants if they didn’t like bitter tastes. Scientists from New Orleans reckon your tastebuds become less sensitive as you get older, changing your food choices. FOOD preferences could be down to what your mother ate when she was pregnant with you. Food diffuses through the amniotic fluid, the water-like substance that protects the baby, meaning babies can get used to tastes and flavours. Julie Mennella, from the Monell Chemical Senses Center. in the US, said: “Things such as vanilla, carrot, garlic, aniseed, mint – these are some of the flavours that have been shown to be transmitted through amniotic fluid or mother’s milk.” Smoking. WE all know smoking is bad for us and it’s common knowledge that the habit can dampen taste buds. But did you know smokers have fewer and flatter taste buds?

Healthy taste buds are shaped like sprouting plant bulbs, with the taste pore located on the tongue. But smokers’ taste buds are flatter, according to a study of 62 Greek soldiers, and thus have a reduced blood supply. The researchers concluded that smoking changes the structure of taste buds in young adults. It’s not clear whether quitting smoking can reverse this. A GENE has been discovered that shows how alcoholics perceive taste – which could also be the key to curing the addiction. Studies show that people with the TAS2R38 gene variation have taste buds desensitised to bitter flavours. Julie Mennella, at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in the US, said: “Whether the genetic differences that underlie sensitivity to bitter tastes contribute to early experimentation with alcohol is an important area for future research.” Infections. The chances are you get fewer colds and infections. People who don’t like bitter tastes are less likely to get ill, studies show, as the taste receptors that detect bitterness also guard against bacteria. A study published in Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2012 identified that the same bitter taste receptors in the mouth are also found in the upper airway. They detect and kill the bacteria that causes pneumonia before symptoms occur. PEOPLE who take anti-depressants can see their sense of taste improved. Scientists in Bristol discovered that those who regularly take two common forms of the medication – paroxetine or reboxetine – have an increased sensitivity to bitter tastes. They also found that those on antidepressants to increase serotonin, the happy hormone in the brain, were more sensitive to sweet flavours. It’s thought these findings could help researchers develop tailor-made antidepressants for mental-health patients. BELIEVE it or not, taste receptors give clues about how fertile you are. Two proteins involved in taste play a crucial role in sperm development. Scientists found that mice missing TAS1R3, a protein involved in detecting sweet things, and GNAT3, which is responsible for basic taste, were infertile. So men who have a dampened sense of taste and are underwhelmed by sweet, salty, or bitter foods may struggle to conceive. OUR taste buds could determine how much food we need to feel satisfied. The body’s appetite-controlling compounds called endocannabinoids, act directly on taste receptors on the tongue, scientists in Philadelphia and Japan found. Their research revealed that endocannabinoids enhance sweet tastes and how much food is consumed, by increasing appetite and modulating taste receptors. It’s hoped the study’s findings could help in research to understand obesity and diabetes. The average adult has between 2,000 and 10,000 taste buds.

Taste buds begin to form during the eighth week after conception. Taste buds have a short life span of ten days – which explains why you like certain foods some days but not on the next. Eating sugary or sweet foods can cause a temporary sweet aftertaste in the mouth. However, a persistent sweet taste in the mouth can be a sign of a more serious condition.

A sweet taste in the mouth can be a signal of the body having trouble regulating blood sugar, which may be due to diabetes. There is also a range of other possible causes, each requiring specific care. Unlike an aftertaste caused by eating foods containing sugar or artificial sweeteners, a persistent sweet taste in the mouth is typically caused by an underlying medical condition. These conditions can be serious and will often require medical attention, so it is vital to receive a proper diagnosis. Share on Pinterest A sweet taste in the mouth may be caused by diabetes.

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