'Supertasters' consume more salt

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Your 'super' or intense taste or distaste for salt could be genetic according to a new study published on June 16 in the journal Physiology & Behavior.

A Penn State announcement outlined that researchers at both Penn State and the University of Connecticut monitored a group of healthy, non-smoking men (45) and women (42) aged 20-40 and monitored their taste intensity while they ate "salty foods such as broth, chips and pretzels, on multiple occasions, spread out over weeks."

"Most of us like the taste of salt. However, some individuals eat more salt, both because they like the taste of saltiness more, and also because it is needed to block other unpleasant tastes in food," said one of the study's authors, John Hayes.

"Supertasters, people who experience tastes more intensely, consume more salt than do nontasters. Snack foods have saltiness as their primary flavor, and at least for these foods, more is better, so the supertasters seem to like them more."

Supertasters also use salt to "block unpleasant bitter tastes in foods such as cheese," explaining people with these ultra-sensitive taste buds live in "neon world," while nontasters reside in a "pastel world."

"Individuals who experience more bitterness also perceive more saltiness in table salt, more sweetness from table sugar, more burn from chili peppers, and more tingle from carbonated drinks."

The statement from Penn State outlined that, "Hayes cited research done more than 75 years ago by a chemist named Fox and a geneticist named Blakeslee, showing that individuals differ in their ability to taste certain chemicals. As a result, Hayes explained, we know that a wide range in taste acuity exists, and this variation is as normal as variations in eye and hair color."

Since you can't change your genes and will never know what your 'supertaster' friend is complaining about, enjoy your 'pastel' healthy nontasting world.

'Supertasters', remember it is best to minimize salt intake for a healthy diet even if you have 'super' powers.

Full study, "Explaining variability in sodium intake through oral sensory phenotype, salt sensation and liking": http://bit.ly/c5cmVa

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