Smart Woman: Supertasters Help Doctors Better Understand Food

    Ever wonder why some people can eat certain foods and others can't? It might be our taste buds. Scientists have found that some people taste different compounds more than others and those people are called "Super Tasters".

    Not everybody agrees on what types of foods taste good. Each person's taste buds are different because some are more sensitive than others. As you get older you tend to get less sensitive and some people are born more genetically sensitive to certain tastes. Those people are known as "supertasters", but they don't have super powers that allow them to taste all flavors in each and every bite.

    Supertasters have more to do with how they perceive certain kinds of bitter. What supertasters are tasting that others don't is a chemical substance that reacts with food called PTC. In supertasters, certain foods, like dark leafy greens, coffee and some teas, can set off the bitterness. The way to test for a supertaster is to have a participant sip a concoction that sets off PTC.

    Doctors say if they can better understand taste mechanisms, especially in supertasters, they could pin down why we eat what we do, and how that could lead some people to become obese.

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