Tastebuds

I’m sharing that comment because Daphne made an excellent point and also got me thinking. Can you retrain your tastebuds? Short answer: for sure!

When Daphne described how she weened herself off of putting a lot of sugar in her coffee, it reminded me of just how much I had to ween myself off of sugars, and not just sugars but the way junk food tasted.

That junky food tasted good to me. I was used to drinking regular sodas packed with calories and sugar. Making the change to diet soda was a shock. It was so gross. I hated it and I had to choke it down. Why I didn’t just give up soda entirely is beyond me, but I eventually just got used to the taste of diet soda. Once I got used to the way diet soda tasted, real soda was a sugar shock. Now I drink mostly sparkling water. I got to the point where diet soda made me feel kind of sick (additives and other junk in it) and the sparkling water tasted better.

Same goes for the coffee. I’ve described my go-to coffee dessert many times but for you new readers here it is: white chocolate mocha with caramel syrup and whipped cream. MAN! DELICIOUS! Also a sugar shock and an even bigger calorie shock. Now? I drink black coffee with creamer in it. It’s less than 100 calories and while it’s not quite the same as what I used to get, it does okay. It sounds to me like Daphne has a handle on her coffee and sugar ratio. 🙂 It’s a big change to the taste buds, though, and it definitely takes time to adjust.

You MUST give yourself time to adjust. It may seem weird at first. The food might not taste right. But eventually your body adapts.

When I was trying to lose the weight, I made the switch from high fat, junk food to diet food that was low in calorie. The foods had a lot of fake things in them–so much so that I’d hesitate to call some of it FOOD. Once I got used to how the fake stuff tasted, I didn’t mind it too much. What I did notice, though, is that is wasn’t as satisfying. I think there is a correlation between cravings and hunger with the TYPE of food we eat.

“As fat promotes fullness, if a person is insensitive to fat their body will not send out signals telling them they are full and need to stop eating.” (source)

That quote is from a longer article that has some interesting information is you care to read it. It went on to share some of the results of a study and how people taste fat and what it does to their hunger. It was interesting but inconclusive.

For the last year or so, I’ve been eating more real foods. I have REAL mayonnaise in my fridge instead of the fake stuff that was 40 calories. Sure it’s double the calories, but a little bit of real mayo goes a long way. I don’t need as much. It tastes good and I feel satisfied. I’ve also been adding avocado to meals. I noticed a huge change in my hunger. The avocados are so satisfying and filling, and I don’t need to eat much of it to get that benefit.

Looking into this topic, I found a few articles that were interesting and worth a read:

Adjusting Your Tastebuds, Part One

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Taste Buds

10 Tips To Get Those Taste Buds Working As They Should

So how do you change your tastebuds?

I think the first step is to some sort of cleanse. Get rid of the unhealthy high fats (i.e. junk food) and fast food items and make some small changes today. Buy a bag of apples and eat one for a snack every day. Just get into the habit and even if you don’t crave fruits and vegetables like you do the junk food, give it time for your body and tastebuds to adjust. It won’t happen overnight. (I think it took me about 2 weeks of healthier eating to get used to it.)

Next, try things you’ve never had before. For a really long time I told myself I hated Brussels sprouts and asparagus. I don’t know why I thought that because those two things weren’t something I ever really ate. The veggies in my house growing up were frozen corn, green beans, and peas and carrots. My dad hated anything “green” so our veggie exposure was pretty limited. Guess what? I gave it a try a few years ago and I LOVE asparagus and Brussels sprouts! They are my two favorite vegetables now.

Look at labels when you go grocery shopping. How many ingredients are in that item? Are they things you can pronounce? Is there a bunch of added sugar or MSG? Maybe it’s time to start cooking certain things from scratch to avoid the additives.

QUESTION: Have you noticed your tastebuds changing?