The genes behind picky eaters

Picky eaters can be a pain. But scientists have begun to recognize that genes are to blame for the behavior of some finicky diners.

Linda Bartoshuk, a Yale University taste researcher, identified a group called “supertasters” who are extremely sensitive to certain flavors, especially bitter and spicy ones. And there are more of them out there than you may realize. 

25% of people are considered supertasters (very high taste sensitivity), while 50% are normal tasters (average taste sensitivity) and 25% are non-tasters (very low taste sensitivity).

35% of females are considered supertasters while only 10% of males are.

Supertasters have around 30 taste buds per square centimeter on their tongues; non-tasters have only 5, and normal tasters fall somewhere in between.


More from our partners