Are You a Super Taster?

Researchers at Rutgers University in Trenton, N.J., found “super tasters” — persons especially sensitive to bitter compounds in broccoli and other foods — eat less food and tend to be 20-percent thinner than others, reports Associated Press. Lead researcher and professor of food science Beverly Tepper says about 50 percent of Americans are medium tasters and 25 percent each are super tasters or non-tasters. Non-tasters tend to like fatter, sweeter, hotter and bitter foods.

Classifications are based on sensitivity to a chemical, known as PROP for short, which is similar to compounds that make foods such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts taste bitter to some people. Some scientists dispute the association between sensitivity to PROP and body size, but researchers at Yale University and University of Connecticut produced results similar to Tepper's.

As we age, our sense of smell and taste diminishes, but the average person has more than enough taste buds for a lifetime.

To determine if you are a super taster, place a gummed ring, the kind used to reinforce loose-leaf paper, on your tongue with one edge touching the middle and the other touching the side. Use a cotton swab to dab blue food coloring in the center. Remove the ring and, using a magnifying glass, count the pink circles, called fungiform papillae, on the blue background. If there are more than 30 circles in the ring, you are a super taster. The norm is between 10 and 30, and if you only find 5 to 10, you are a non-taster.

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