It's Not Hard to Retrain Your Taste in Food


Cartoon of Blindfolded Taste Test

While you may not be an old dog, it's still not too late to learn new tricks. One of the difficulties many people face in losing weight is that their taste buds have been conditioned to salt, sugar and fat in the daily diet. All is not lost, however. With a little time and effort (and the help of real food) you can retrain your taste buds.

Just One Bite

Any parent who has ever tried to convince a child to eat a new food is familiar with the “Just one bite!” mantra. Research shows children who experiment with the one bite method do in fact tend to eat more of these foods as they grow older. Turns out this technique works for grown-ups, too. If you aren't too excited about the idea of tomatoes, try cherry tomatoes and eat just one.

Easy Does It

When you eat fatty, sugary or salty foods, it's very similar to an addict taking a hit. As your taste buds become habituated to the taste, it takes more of the same flavor to achieve the same effect. Reverse the process to retrain your taste buds. Do you normally take three teaspoons of sugar in your coffee? Cut back, even if it's half a teaspoon at a time.

The Nose Knows

Your senses of smell and taste interact; if a food has an unpleasant odor even though it tastes good, you may be put off by smelling it. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts are classics in this respect, as they release sulfur compounds when cooked. Keep the lid on the pot while cooking and eat in a different room.

These strategies can help you retrain your taste buds. They work best with real foods. Remember, baby steps may be small, but eventually you'll get there.

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