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Are SuperTasters Also Picky Eaters?

Published March 28, 2024

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Supertasters are individuals with heightened taste sensitivity, often exhibit picky eating tendencies, especially in kiddos. Let’s review the characteristics of a super taster and how it may contribute to picky eating habits in kids. 

What are Supertasters? 

Supertasters have increased sensitivity to tastes, particularly bitter flavors. This heightened taste perception is due to genetic factors that result in having more taste buds and a greater sensitivity to certain compounds found in foods. Supertasters often experience flavors more intensely than average tasters, especially bitter, sour, and strong flavors, which can influence their food preferences and aversions.

How Being a Supertaster Contributes to Picky Eating

1. Flavor Aversions: The heightened taste perception from supertasters can lead to aversions towards certain foods, particularly those with intense or bitter flavors. This can further contribute to picky eating behaviors in kids due to the limitations in food choices. 

2. Genetic Factors:  Genetic variations in taste receptor genes, such as TAS2R38, influence an individual's ability to taste bitter compounds like those found in cruciferous vegetables. Kiddos with super tasting genes may find these foods unpalatable, leading to food avoidance and picky eating tendencies.

3. Texture and Aroma Sensitivity: Super tasters may also exhibit heightened sensitivity to food textures and aromas, further influencing their food preferences and aversions. Foods with specific textures or strong aromas may be off-putting to kids with heightened sensory perceptions, contributing to picky eating habits.

Summary

Super tasters, individuals with heightened taste sensitivity, often display picky eating behaviors, particularly in kiddos, due to their increased perception of bitter, sour, and strong flavors. Genetic factors, texture sensitivity, and aroma perception all play a role in shaping food preferences and aversions in super tasters. 

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