What is a supertaster?

A supertaster is a person who is particularly sensitive to bitter tastes.

It is estimated that around 25% of people are supertasters.

Why are some people supertasters?

Supertasters have a higher number of taste buds on their tongue. The more taste buds you have, the more sensitive you are to tastes, particularly bitter ones.

Scientists have also discovered that some people carry a gene that makes their taste buds more sensitive to the bitter taste of a chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil (also known as PROP).

A supertaster will perceive PROP as being very bitter and unpleasant. A non-taster will not find the taste of PROP bitter.

Do supertasters dislike certain foods?

If you are a supertaster, you may not like to eat bitter-tasting green vegetables such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts. You may also avoid strong coffee, chocolate, salty foods or very sugary and sweet foods.

Supertasters and alcohol

There is some evidence to suggest that people who are sensitive to bitter flavours drink less alcohol than those who are not. However, the results of research on alcoholism and supertasters has been mixed.

Read the answers to more questions about healthy eating.

Further information

Eating well on a budget

In this video, dietitian Azmina Govindji gives advice on how to eat healthily on a budget.

Media last reviewed: 14/05/2013

Next review due: 14/05/2015

Page last reviewed: 29/01/2013

Next review due: 28/01/2015