About a quarter of the population of the world has super-powered tongues. They experience taste more intensely than the rest of us. Find out if you're one of Them below.
Some people have particular tastes in food. They're considered overly picky and too sensitive. It turns out they could just be tasting things on a whole different level from the rest of us. A quarter of the world is composed of supertasters. These people have more taste buds on their tongues than the rest of the population. They're hypersensitive to certain tastes.
Of course, every Superman must have his Lex Luthor. Another quarter of the world is made up of non-tasters. They have fewer taste buds than the average person, and don't taste the things that most other people do.
The main sign of a supertaster is an dislike of certain foods. Cilantro, famously, is a turn off for supertasters. They taste the bitterness in it that others do not. Supertasters are very averse to any kind of bitter tastes. They tend not to like grapefruit juice, black coffee, alcohol and spinach. The way to help them out? Throw a little salt in there. The salt lessens the bitter taste, and supertasters like the taste of salt more than the rest of us do.
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So far, that sounds like a lot of people. There isn't a shortage on people who are best friends with the salt shaker and hate bitter vegetables. The next test knocks most of those out of the running, though. Supertasters, as a population, are thinner than the average joe. They aren't just put off by bitterness, they don't like things to be overly sweet or fatty, either.
How to figure it out? You could play the numbers. People of Asian decent are more likely to be supertasters. Women are more likely to be supertasters. Caucasian men have the lowest proportion of supertasters of any population.
Tests –- paper scraps soaked in chemicals that tasters find bitter — are available online, but mostly they single out non-tasters. Both average tasters and supertasters don't like bitterness, so they're most likely going to have fall back on judging whether they intensely dislike the taste, and are supertasters, or just kind of dislike it, making them average.
A quantitative analysis is probably the best way to find out what you are. You'll need some office supplies, a magnifying glass, blue food coloring, and a buddy willing to stare at your tongue for it, so hopefully you have friends. Take a card or piece of paper and use a standard hole punch to make a hole in it. Rub some blue food coloring on your tongue with a tissue. Your tongue will blue up like Braveheart, but the taste buds should still be pink.
Put the card over your tongue so the blue area is showing through the hole, whip out the magnifying glass and pull you friend close. They're going to count the taste buds visible through the hole. Fifteen to thirty-five is standard. Upwards of thirty-five and you now have a reason to complain at dinner parties. If you have under 15, you probably won't know it, since you've alienated all your friends by serving them spam smothered in bitter chocolate. Good luck to you.
Via Today I Found Out, CNN, and NPR.