Are you a Supertaster?

November 23, 2016

My entire life I have been known as a “picky” eater.  I don’t like most green vegetables, coffee, tea, fat, many spices, alcohol, and a multitude of other things.  As a child it was a constant struggle for me, trying to eat what was put in front of me by my Mom, but not liking so much of what was served.

As an adult, being a “picky” eater can sometimes be a problem.   When we are invited into the homes of others for a meal, or to an event of some sort, I will eat a little bit before I leave home, in case I don’t like what is being served.   When I go to a restaurant, it is extremely rare for me to order something from the menu without requesting substitutions or deletions.

Although being known as the picky eater of a group can, at times, be embarrassing, it can also be rather entertaining, if you don’t mind laughing at yourself.  When I was working in an office, our staff frequently went to a nearby restaurant for lunch.  One time, as the server was taking our orders and got to me, I said, “Well, I will be the difficult one.”  He smiled and said, “Oh, yes, I remember you.”

I have tried, for years and years,  to come up with reasons for my eating habits, but never could. My Mom didn’t let me “get away” with eating just what I wanted or liked. I specifically remember when I left home for college, feeling a great sense of relief that I would then be able to eat only things that I liked! So it couldn’t be that I had not been exposed to different foods or allowed to eat only what I wanted.

We had company a few weeks ago, and as we were discussing different foods, one of our guests suggested that I might be a “supertaster.”

A what?

I had  never heard of a supertaster.    The conversation lingered in my mind, and when our guests left, I hopped onto Google to explore the subject more.


Today I found out how to tell if you are a supertaster.  What’s a supertaster you ask?  More or less, it’s just someone with a heck of a lot more taste-buds than the average person.  Specifically, someone with more than about 35 papillae per 7mm diameter circle on their tongue.  Papillae are tiny structures on your tongue that contain your taste-buds.  It turns out, about 25% of people are supertasters; 25% are non-tasters; and the other 50% are somewhere in the middle.

All these extra taste-buds tend to make supertasters hyper sensitive to tastes, due to the increased intensity of any given taste they are detecting.  Researchers estimate the supertasters experience flavors about three times stronger than the average taster.

Because of this, supertasters tend to hate green vegetables, grapefruit juice, certain alcoholic beverages, coffee, green tea, soy based products, overly sweet things, and generally are just considered “picky eaters”.  It turns out though, that it has nothing to do with personality with supertasters, as is often implied, and more to do with the fact that they can taste things that the people labeling them “picky eaters” and ridiculing them for it, can’t.  So don’t get bitter at them, they can’t help it.

Oh, my goodness!!!! There is a SCIENTIFIC reason for the way I am?

I had to be sure though, so I sent away for a test that would confirm or deny the fact that I am a supertaster.  I anxiously awaited the test, and when it came, I took it immediately.


I am NOT a picky eater by choice.

I canNOT help my food preferences or dislikes.

I was just made this way!

I want to tell everyone who has ever shared a meal with me;  has ever watched me make certain menu requests as restaurants;  has ever seen me take a bite of something and declare, “There are onions in this,” even though others couldn’t taste them.

As my husband and I were discussing the test results, I displayed child-like glee over the fact that my “picky” habits are not my “fault.”  I mean.. for my whole life, I thought they were!  My husband smiled and said, “I’ll bet you wish you could tell your Mom!”  

Yes, I do wish I could tell her!  Just so she would know I wasn’t REALLY a difficult child!  

(My Mom passed away when I was 23. But she’s in Heaven, so actually she found out I was a Super-Taster before I did!)





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  1. Glori

    Interesting…and I get it…not because I relate to food as you do but I am Hyper-sensitive to smells…does that make me a super-smeller? lol BUT, now I also know how you have been able to stay thin…do you mind borrowing me some of those taste buds you have??!!

    • Karen

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t some sort of connection to smells too, Glori! I’ll have to look that up. And yes, there are definitely times when I would want to “loan” some of my taste buds! 🙂

  2. Cassel

    I am such a picky eater too. I have tried. When i was a kid, i would have to eat what was given to me, or i would not have anything else. That piece of apple pie was kept in the fridge for the next meal if i didn’t eat it. I remember gagging on food. I don’t like most veggies, and any fruit. Now, just even thinking of trying something new almost makes me gag.
    Sometimes, i wish i was allergic to those things. When i say i can’t eat this or that, people would be so understanding if i said “i am allergic to it”. But if i say “i just don’t like it”, they look at me like i am an alien.

    However, unlike you, i do have a sweet tooth.
    I’d be curious to take that test too!

    • Karen

      I do like certain sweets, but not all, Cassel. I really would encourage you to take the Supertaster test, if you think this might apply to you. The test cost $5, and 2 strips were included (for 2 tests). It was definitely worth it for me!

  3. Dels PSP Emporium

    I am not a supertaster – hense the weight! LOL I love just about everything except mushrooms. When I was in labor for my 1st daughter, I was in labor all day and then it stopped. I was starving! The only thing they had was mushroom soup and I ate it. I threw up for quite awhile. After having a very large polyp in my sinuses, my sense of smell is damaged. Twice I have gone into respiratory arrest! That was from Lysol spray and mowed grass! Perfumes are really bad for me too. Since my polyp issue I still can’t stand zest soap! LOL So, I can relate to what you are going through. It’s embarrassing to tell someone I have to move away from them because of what they are wearing.

    • Karen

      Oh, my goodness! That was quite an experience! I have the same sensitivity to chemicals in perfumes… so I definitely understand what you are going through with that!

  4. Judy

    This was very interesting to me, it is my brother-in-law to a tee and now I have an explanation! Thanks for sharing…

    • Karen

      Ahhh… it would be interesting to get a test for him!

  5. Renee

    Karen that is so interesting – I’m sure more people than we are aware of are supertasters.I better not mention this to my grandkids they will all tell me they are supertasters LOL!!

    • Karen

      LOL! I understand! 🙂

  6. libbyw2013

    I will eat just about anything, and texture is often more off-putting than taste for me. This was interesting.

    • Karen

      Yes, I agree, Libby! Thanks for your input!

  7. Jackie S

    Oh, my – we MUST be soulmates! I can’t eat onions and a teenyweenie bit of fresh burns my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Can’t sneak ’em by me – will not go down my throat! Too cheap to do the test strip but did the blue food dye on the tongue test and yep, definitely a supertaster. I was so picky as a child that my aunties knew they could always give me a hot-dog if all else fails.

    • Karen

      Oh, Jackie! I totally understand!!! But remember, we are “not” picky eaters… just Super Tasters! 🙂

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