Thursday, December 10, 2015

How Our Sense of Taste Changes as We Age

    We learned in class that as we get older our sense of taste tends to change.  As babies we are extremely sensitive to bitter-tasting foods because we associate those tastes with toxins.  We are far more accepting of sweet or salty tasting foods because sweet foods are high energy foods.  As we get older, our sense of taste and smell changes and we are more accepting of those bitter tasting foods.  This happens because, as we get older, our taste buds start to regenerate less often.  We start off with a certain amount of taste buds and over time they go through a constant cycle of birth, death, and rebirth(within about a two week span).  Once we reach the age of about forty, our taste buds continue to shed, but less taste buds are actually regenerated.  This means that as we get older we actually start to lose taste buds, making us a lot less sensitive to taste.  Our sense of smell, which we know is also linked to the flavors that we experience when eating, also declines as we get older.  This explains why we have a higher tolerance for bitter or blander tastes as we get older.

How Our Sense of Taste Changes as We Age

1 comment:

  1. Marissa,

    Wow, I actually had no idea this happened! I knew taste buds regenerated, but I wasn't aware that it was A. that frequent, and B. that we were getting less taste buds regenerated as we age. This explains the change in an elder's food preferences. Your post made me wonder about why this happens though, from an evolutionary stand point. As we learned in this class, and as you referenced, there is a purpose for us rejecting bitter foods as a baby. This reaction protects us from ingesting something that may potentially be harmful. As elders, do we not need this same protection? I'd love to understand a little better why this happens.