Supertasters – Why You Should Want Their Jobs
Supertasters have the unique ability to pick out certain flavors from food and discern discrepancies between like products. While this may sound overwhelming to you, supertasters get all the fun jobs. Supertasters can give the credit to their taste buds; small bumps on the tongue, also called fungiform papillae. Taste buds are made up of 50 to 150 small receptor cells. Receptors on the surface of these cells bind to molecules that can figure out flavors. Each receptor has a role in determining a single flavor: sweet, salty, bitter, sour or savory. The combination of all these flavors is what we “taste” when we eat food. About 25% of people are considered supertasters. As Linda Bartoshuk, a pioneer in the study of supertasting put it: “Supertasters live in a neon food world compared to the pastel food world” of everyone else. If you’re a professional chef, you’re probably supertaster. Other jobs include product testing for food producers, distilleries and restaurateurs. Supertasters are also more likely to be women than men, according to Bartoshuk. Researchers say supertasters tend to avoid eating vegetables because they often taste particularly bitter. Yet many supertasters are leaner than the rest of us because they often don’t like the taste of fatty foods. Are you a supertaster? Try this simple test. Take a one-inch-square piece of waxed paper and use a hole puncher to make a hole. Place the wax paper on your tongue and put a little blue food coloring in the punched hole. You tongue should turn blue except for some tiny pink circles. These are your taste buds. If you have more than 25 circles on your tongue – you’re a supertaster! Do you think you are a supertaster? Leave your experience in the comments!