Are You a 'Supertaster'?

ByABC News via logo
December 20, 2006, 11:51 AM

Dec. 21, 2006 — -- Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen know the human body inside and out.

The duo's latest book, "You: On a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management," helps readers understand their bodies so they can more effectively shave inches off their waists.

Oz and Roizen, a cardiologist and anesthesiologist respectively, say that understanding what type of taster you are is key to managing your diet. Take their "supertaster" test and see what your taste buds say about you.

We all know that some foods we like may send others seeking gas masks. But your tongue-related genetics may play an even bigger role in managing your waistline. They could mean that you are either not getting the right foods or are more prone to downing an after-dinner pie before the check arrives.

If you're classified as a supertaster, you tend not to eat fruits and vegetables because they may taste very bitter, thereby putting yourself at a higher risk of certain diseases and colon polyps because you're not getting nutrients needed from fruits and vegetables. You should supplement your diet with a multivitamin to ensure you're getting the right nutrients, as well as use fruits and veggies creatively to enliven other meals -- like in salads and desserts and as moisturizers on breads (tomato sauce works great).

If you're an "undertaster," you may be more prone to eating (and overeating) sweets because it requires more taste to satiate you. Of note, researchers say about 25 percent of us are supertasters and 25 percent are undertasters, while the rest of us are simply regular tasters.

The Saccharin Test: Mix one pack of saccharin (Sweet'N Low) into two-thirds of a cup of water. Now taste the water. You'll probably taste a mix of both bitter and sweet, but focus on which taste is stronger.

If the sweet taste is dominant, it means you're probably an undertaster. If bitter is the dominant taste, it means you're probably a supertaster. If it's a tie, you are in the half of the population of regular tasters, so don't sweat it. Surely, you may have to do the test more than once to tease out differences.

The Blue-Tongue Test: Wipe a swab of blue food dye on your tongue and inspect the small circles of pink-colored tissue that polka dot the newly painted blue tongue. Those are called papillae. Then, put a piece of paper -- with a 4 mm hole, or the size of a hole punch in three-ring paper -- over your tongue.

Use a magnifying glass to count the little pink dots you see in the hole. If you count fewer then five dots, it means you're an undertaster, while more than 30 indicates you're probably a supertaster.