Retrain Your Taste Buds to Lose Weight


Man Tasting Pot with Fresh Vegetables Cooking

You are born with taste buds that can distinguish between salty, sour, bitter and sweet tastes, as well as a food characteristic the Japanese call umami - “a savory, pleasant flavor.” Of those tastes, salty and sweet tend to be what most people go for first. That's why so many processed foods are sweet or salty.

Food Manufacturers Are Sneaky

The food manufacturers have actually trained your taste buds to prefer junk food based on the taste buds' intrinsic capabilities. Think about it – how many of your favorite snacks are high in salt, sugar and – in many cases – fat, which helps provide umami? Although many people learn to enjoy foods with a slightly bitter edge (like coffee), given a choice, they tend to go the salt/sugar route. All is not lost, however, as you can retrain your taste buds.

Like the rest of you, your taste buds “are what you eat.” In an article in Today's Dietician, editorial assistant Julian Schaeffer notes that when people in one study ate a lower salt diet for about a month, they began to prefer less salty foods. The same is true of sweets – back off on the sugar for a few weeks and dessert will be too sweet for you.

Retraining Starts with Real Foods

Retraining your taste buds starts with real foods. Eat a sweet juicy apple when the sugar craving hits. Limit the tastes in a meal so you can really notice and enjoy what you're eating. Three main flavors is about right – something a little salty, for example, like chicken vegetable soup. That can also be a good source of umami. Different textures also jazz things up – the crunch of celery compared to a ripe tomato, for example. Try these strategies, which many clients of the Metabolic Research Center have used to eat well while losing weight. Your taste buds and your waistline will thank you.

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