Bitter pill, why "supertasters" are picky eaters

ANCHORAGE Do you have a picky eater in your life? Are you a picky eater? If they or you have a strong aversion to the taste of bitter it could be due to genetics, you could be what is called a "supertaster."

It's a phenomenon that was first discovered back in the early half of the last century. Dr. Markian Babij, a naturopathic oncologist in Anchorage, tells the story saying , "In 1930, Dupont had a little accident in which a cloud of chemicals was released and in that accident some of the scientist working in the plant detected a very bitter taste in their mouth and some of them didn't and so that certainly raised some questions."

Those questions would lead to a discovery of the gene Tas2R38. Dr. Babij explained that those of us who get a dominant Tas2R38 gene from both mother and father can have more taste receptors in the tongue.

We talk about supertasters, these folks that have more dense taste receptors, as people who taste things in neon." Said Dr. Babij.

Typically people that have the supertaster gene have a strong distaste for vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale. They tend to shy away from dark beer and black coffee as well.

Social factors, family experience, and how much exposure to different foods a person gets at a young age can all play a big roll in how picky someone may be. Those are preferences that can be overcome. However, for Supertasters "it is what it is, there's not much you can do if you have overexpression of your receptors in your tongue." Says Dr. Babij.

Parents still want their kids to eat healthy vegetables, spouses or friends may still get annoyed at the picky eater in their life, but be mindful, you could have a supertaster on your hands. A person who tastes the world in a different flavor, and not always a good one.

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