To some people the taste of a compound
called 6-n-propylthiouracil is bitter, and yet to other people
there is no taste at all. And the reason is known to be genetic.
Now it has been found that among the "tasters" there is a group of
people who are "supertasters" for whom the taste is very bitter
For supertasters, sweets, particularly sugars, are
much sweeter. People who hate the aftertaste of saccharin are
tasters. Super-tasters have been found to perceive more pain from
chilli peppers, black pepper and alcohol. Super-tasters are also a
super perceiver of fat in food.
It is possible to predict food preferences based on
whether a person is a taster or not.
Super-tasters often dislike coffee and expresso - and
if they drink coffee, will take milk and sugar. They will dislike
brussels sprouts and broccoli and if they eat them will prefer them
in a creamy sauce.They dislike curries and hot spices.
Many foods which carry cancer preventive compounds
are bitter. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and grapefruit. So
it would be expected that super-tasters would not be likely to
choose those foods and therefore miss the protective factors in
However there are other protective factors in being a
taster. A study done on older women who are all tasters, found that
they had a lower body weight, lower percentage of body fat, lower
Body Mass Index, higher HDL's - the good cholesterol levels and
Tasters - who are known to have a higher perception
of fat - had lower intakes of high fat dairy products, so that
might explain in part why they are thinner and healthier.
Also it has been found that alcohol is more bitter
for tasters and that alcoholism is associated with non-tasting.