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Adapting Our Taste Buds

A recent news article in The Exponent Telegram explained why some people don't enjoy whole foods and only have a taste for foods high in salt or sugar.

According to their interviewee, West Virginia University Extension Agent Gina Wood, our taste buds adapt to our diet. If you are used to eating sweet, salty, and fatty foods since childhood, you'll lose your ability to enjoy foods lacking these qualities (1).

Between marketing of processed foods; addictive qualities such as high sugar, salt, and fat; and limited time to cook, Americans have the odds stacked against them when it comes to choosing healthful whole foods. And the more processed foods we eat, the more sugar, salt, and fat we need to satisfy our brains' reward centers (1, 2). The threshold for these additives continues to go higher.

(As a side note, it has been found that sugar substitutes like aspartame and sucralose cause the same response in our brains, requiring us to crave more and more sweet foods and beverages.) (2)

However, Registered Dietitian Judy Siebart reminds us that just as we adapted to the taste of the processed foods, we can also adapt to a diet of whole foods that lack the sugar, salt, and fat (1). She suggests a 6-week hiatus from foods high in sugar, salt, and fat will break the addiction. Researchers suggest it only takes 10-14 days to break the sugar addiction, as our dopamine responses can return to normal levels this quickly (3). Dr. Mark Hyman outlines how to break your sugar addiction here.

To read the full article, follow this link.


(1) Nestor, L. (2017). Health experts: Ingredients in processed foods prevent healthy eating. The Exponent Telegram. Retrieved Oct. 9, 2017 from:

(2) Tang, Q. (2010). Gain weight by "going diet"? Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Neuroscience. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.

(3) Hyman, M. (2015). Break your sugar addiction in 10 days. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved Oct. 9, 2017 from:

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