DIET&FITNESS Published February24, 2015 By Staff Writer

How Your Taste Buds Can Help You Lose Weight

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Obesity
(Photo : Spencer Platt / Getty Images News)

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to taste. Some may devour green leafy vegetables while some might puke at the idea of eating them. Some may love eating burgers while others may not love them. That is how diverse our taste buds are. However, a new study suggests that our taste buds can actually help us lose weight.

According to a research pioneered by Valerie Duffy, RD, professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut, "When it comes to taste, each one of us is hardwired differently." The flavor preferences can actually affect our health and weight in a variety of ways.

The study as reported by Yahoo News, also reiterated that there are three types of tasters: supertasters, non-tasters and people who are in the middle or somewhere in between. In fact, according to the study, around 25% of Americans are supertasters, 25% are non-tasters and 50% are in the middle.

Supertasters are those who find the flavors in foods are intense wherein they find the dessert too sweet, spicy foods too spicy and bitter ones really bitter. They are the 'picky eaters' who have hypersensitive taste buds. Often times, they do not eat much.

However, eating vegetables may be a daunting task for supertasters who are more sensitive to the bitter components of dark leafy vegetables like spinach. Hence, they take in less serving of vegetables compared to others.

Also, what supertasters have a picky taste is that they may seem to have more of taste papillae, which are tiny bumps on the tongue where taste buds thrive. On the other hand, non-tasters have less taste for flavors and textures.

Non-tasters, on the other hand, do not perceive flavors like supertasters. However, they taste green leafy vegetables and greens as sweet as bitter as perceived by supertasters.  Also, they are not that sensitive to fatty and creamy foods making them eat more than what' supposed to be eaten at one seating. Hence, they are more prone to excessive weight gain and obesity. Since their taste buds are not that abundant, they eat more but do not feel satisfied.

How can this help in losing weight? Scientists say by tricking your taste buds, it can eventually help you not over indulge in food. Barbara Rolls, PhD, professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet said, "It's called sensory-specific satiety and it happens when you eat one type of food to the point where you don't want any more, yet you can still be hungry for foods with other flavors, textures and smells."

In fact, satiety can actually impact weight management and it can be used as a tool to aid in weight loss.  "People who limit their diets while trying to lose weight are more successful," says Kristen Kizer, RD, a dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. "Our human tendency is to sample as much as possible, so if you have a whole buffet of options, you're more likely to overeat."

Advising people to try dominant flavors and making the food more appetizing with flavors can actually help satisfy the hunger and satiety of people who are non-tasters. This can help them feel satisfied with even a small amount of food.

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