Your fussy eating may not be your fault. Genetics could be making you taste foods differently. 25% of us experience the basic tastes of the world (especially bitterness) more intensely than the rest of us, and are classified as supertasters.
Supertasting is a genetically inherited trait – only one parents needs to have it for it to be passed down to the next generation.
According to Linda Bartoshuk, professor with the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste and a pioneer in the study of supertasting, professional chefs, women, Asians, and African Americans are all more likely to be supertasters. In the U.S., about 15% of people have the trait.
PROs & CONs
Because of their likes and dislikes, supertasters are more likely to be leaner because of their preference for less fatty foods. Supertasters are also more likely to avoid tobacco and alcohol because of the often strong bitter taste. There are also certain bitter substances that only supertasters can detect.
However, they may also have a slightly higher risk for colon cancer due to their dislike of vegetables, especially the dark green variety like broccoli and cilantro.
Want to confirm your supertaster status? You can do a quick count of your papillae using some food coloring, a hole punch reinforcer, and a magnifying glass. Supertasters will have a higher density of papillae than average tasters.