Russell Keats, the lead author of the Australian study and an associate professor at Deakin University in Victoria, said this latest study has some issues. "The number [of subjects] is small, taste strips are not a great method to indicate taste function, and identification of taste may be related to other cognitive issues rather than anything to do with taste function," he said.
Cook said it's possible the results might change if the same study looked at American children, who are used to eating more highly processed foods than their European counterparts. "Since they have different exposures, I'm not sure the results would be the same."
Still, Dando said the work is interesting. It's not yet known whether the taste buds can be retrained to do a better job but if they can, he thought it might possibly lead to some new weight loss therapies down the road. Instead of counting calories, perhaps dieters could concentrate on eating more mindfully and getting a bigger taste hit per bite.