CRF-L ArchivesArchiver > CRF > 2004-10 > 1097373697
From: "Patty Allen" <>
Subject: A generation's taste buds
Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2004 19:01:38 -0700
A generation's taste buds are falling out of flavor
By Karen Fernau, Gannett News Service
There's no accounting for taste.
Some of us crave the pucker power of a dill pickle, while others prefer
the sweetness of a raspberry tart. Do you ever wonder why your favorite
foods taste so good?
The answer is on your tongue: taste buds. Ten thousand of them. They
detect four essential tastes: bitter, salty, sweet and sour. Simply put,
they determine whether you like broccoli or not.
But, say some food experts, a generation that's been spoon-fed salt,
sugar and fat is losing its ability to taste. Americans are in a flavor
"The state of taste is in a bad state," says food scientist and
dietitian Steven Witherly, owner of a California-based food consulting
firm. "Americans have developed a taste for the stuff that's the
sweetest, fattest and saltiest."
Savoring is a thing of the past
He's talking about folks who prefer canned chicken noodle soup to
homemade, and strawberry-flavored Fruit Roll-Ups to fresh berries.
"Our lifestyle has become so high-paced and demanding that we are not
taking time to sit down to eat, to taste or savor our food, and that's
too bad," says Deborah Knight, owner of Mosaic restaurant in Scottsdale,
Ariz. Knight was named one of the nation's top chefs by Food & Wine
magazine in 2002. "I'm afraid we are losing our ability to taste," she
Appealing to the four basic tastes -- instead of reaching for that
deep-fried chicken sandwich -- results in more than increased pleasure.
It also can help us stay on the road to health, food experts say.
Those with fine-tuned taste buds prefer balsamic-flavored grilled
chicken on a bed of baby greens over a quarter-pound hamburger and curly
fries. These preferences can ward off obesity-related illnesses, such as
diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
"Science confirms that healthy taste buds lead to a healthy diet,"
Because our taste buds can be conditioned to like or dislike foods,
establishing good eating habits early in life is essential.
In a recent experiment, babies were split into two groups, with one fed
a standard milk-based formula with a bland taste. The second group was
fed a formula treated with a substance that makes it more digestible but
leaves a bitter aftertaste. Both groups drank their formulas without
At the end of seven months, however, the bland-fed babies rejected the
bitter-tasting formula, according to the study, published in the April
issue of the journal Pediatrics. Infants accustomed to the
bitter-tasting formula appeared relaxed and happy while drinking either
Make changes slowly
Additional studies show that we can retrain our taste buds, even if they
have been anesthetized by processed foods. But how do those who sprinkle
salt on salted corn chips develop new preferences?
Slowly. Don't go cold turkey, Knight says: "It's daunting to change
everything at once. Change one meal at a time, one snack at a time."
Make lemonade from lemons and sugar, not a packaged mix full of
artificial flavors and chemicals. Top crackers with Cheddar cheese, not
|A generation's taste buds by "Patty Allen" <>|