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Thanksgiving and your taste buds

Ready to carve that turkey and dig into a slice of pumpkin pie slathered with whipped cream?

Maybe the broccoli casserole and sweet potatoes sound more appealing to you. Or perhaps, you’d rather skip the whole meal and eat pizza.

Either way, your taste buds will be guiding what you choose to put on your plate this Thanksgiving.

But those little bumps on your tongue do more than determine whether you like whole cranberry sauce or the jelly kind in a can. Researchers say taste buds also seem to affect a person’s health.

Some people have more taste buds than others and, as a result, are more likely to have stronger reactions to certain foods. For example, vegetables can taste bitter to these supertasters. Sweet treats, on the other hand, tend to pack more of a sugar jolt.

On the other side of the aisle are nontasters, who have fewer taste buds than the average joe. These folks tend to crave fatty foods and sweets.

There are health concerns for tasters at both ends of the spectrum. Supertasters may get fewer bitter veggies and fruits. Without these, the supertasters are consuming fewer flavonoids. These plant compounds have been shown to help stave off conditions like colon cancer, putting supertasters more at risk for developing the disease.

Nontasters, on the other hand, may be chowing on more fat, sweets and alcohol. All these extra calories and fat could lead to heart disease.

The rest of us have taste buds that place us snugly in the middle.

Just a little food for thought.

About the author

UF Health
UF Health

For the media

Media contact

Peyton Wesner
Communications Manager for UF Health External Communications (352) 273-9620