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Train your taste buds for better diet

Local News

A new study looking at taste adaptation indicates we can train our taste buds to enjoy foods that are healthy for us.

Dr. Tom Campbell, the Medical Director at the Weight Management & Lifestyle Center at Highland Hospital discussed the study Thursday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“It’s a fascinating study,” said Dr. Campbell. “Some people think that there’s genetics involved in terms of how well can you perceive fat taste in the food you eat, and genes may matter, but they actually took twins – they fed them either a high fat diet or a low fat diet for eight weeks and they measured all sorts of taste stuff. And what they found was that the twins eating the high fat diet sort of adapted to it, and they became less sensitive to the fat taste. So it’s almost like they dulled their taste receptors.”

The results offer both positive and negative conclusions according to Dr. Campbell. “The good news is that we can change our taste,” he said. “It doesn’t take a lifetime. Within a couple of months you can actually change your taste receptors on your tongue. The bad news is that if you adapt to an unhealthy diet, which most of us have in this country, if you adapt to an unhealthy diet you become less sensitive to it, in a way, and so – for example – in these subjects, if you’re not sensing the high fat diet, you physically can’t get that reception, then your body doesn’t respond. It doesn’t fill you up as much. It doesn’t satisfy you as much and so you do, you may end up eating more.”

Dr. Campbell added, “In our programs, for example, at the Weight Management Center we look at a 12 week time period, because in 12 weeks you can – based on this research – you can actually change the taste receptors on your tongue and the rest of your gastrointestinal tract in a meaningful way, so this is good news.”

For more on the study, and the Weight Management & Lifestyle Center programs, click here.


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