salt and sugar

March 12, 2015

Have you ever wondered why some people like some foods that others find revolting or bland? In this blog post Tonya Tittle, a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach at Energy Fitness in Downtown Memphis offers you food for thought.

Research, ads, journals and magazines lately have been calling attention to our taste buds and how many papillae (the bumps on our tongue, most of which house our taste buds) affect our failure or success with losing weight. One bitter receptor in the tongue may be responsible. So this one gene does not control weight—or definitively determine what foods you like. Nor does it mean that super-taster children are destined for a vegetable-free life.  One researcher (Tepper) found that women in their 40s who were super-tasters were 20 percent thinner than non-tasters. The super-tasters appeared to eat less overall, be it bitter vegetables or fatty foods.

“Super Tasters” are generally a group of people that are very sensitive to flavors and textures.  Although our brains can recognize the same five tastes—bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami (savory)—the suite of chemicals that can trigger those signals varies from one person to the next.

It’s not just taste genetics that’s influencing people’s behavior and food preferences. There are so many other factors.

What’s your relationship with food?  How often do you try new or unfamiliar foods? Remember hearing that you can develop a taste for a food after trying it for 10- to 15 times.  How often have you seen someone tasting a beer (naturally bitter) for the first time exclaim their absolute love for it?

Another point to ponder is your ability to fight food urges, called “restrained eating.” Self-control, particularly if you are concerned about nutrition or weight, may seem to override your taster status. Few of us crave foods we know are good for us. “I’m desperate for a salad” are words that don’t pass many lips. Foods we crave are more likely to be high in either sugar or salt. This is not surprising considering both behave similar to addictive drugs — that is, the more we have, the more we want.pic of tongue

I was just telling a client the other day about how often I think about doughnuts and sugar but avoid the urge.  When I don’t resist the urge and cave in to consuming more sugar I will share with you something that works for me, especially after delivering 9 and 10 pounds babies AND hitting age 40. Every morning when I walk into the bathroom I lift up my shirt and look in the mirror. I give myself a “flat belly” rating–meaning I will be extra mindful of stress eating or mindless eating and know that I just need to make it for 2 days without sugar to break the habit again.  The same is true for people craving salt. It seems you can lose that taste as quickly as you acquire it. Within a few weeks people who give up salt don’t like it anymore.

So what is your craving?  SALT or SUGAR?

Found this on the internet. It’s a fun little activity….ARE YOU A SUPERTASTER?

To find out, put blue food coloring on your tongue. Blue dye doesn’t stick to taste papillae, so if your tongue doesn’t get very blue, you’re probably a supertaster. The bluer it gets, the greater the chance you are a subtaster. More hot sauce!

How to limit your salt and sugar intake

  • Eat as close to nature as possible. Include in your diet fresh veggies, some whole fruit, lean meats, quinoa, buckwheat and some nutrition coaches might say whole grains, but not me since reading “Grain Brain.”
  • Processed foods are the biggest culprits for both salt and sugar.
  • Don’t drink sugar. This means no juices, soft drinks or cordials.
  • Read the label. Salt and sugar are hidden in even the healthiest foods, including nuts, sauces and breakfast cereals.
  • Prepare your own food. Restaurants use more salt than you think. If you start from scratch with fresh foods you can control your intake.

Do you need Nutrition Coaching sessions because you just don’t know where to start and to give you accountability?  Research shows hiring a nutrition coach gets great results when you follow for 2 years.   With technology, we can be your nutrition coach via Skype or Face Time or the ever growing phone coaching trend.

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