Do tastes change as we age?

07 October 2012

Question

Is it true that our taste buds change as we age because some people like things more when they're older than when they were younger?

Answer

Barry - So, our taste buds don't really change, although the smell diminishes as we get older. It actually can be improved right up until 50, 60, and then it drops right off. But think of one reason why children don't like bitter taste, green vegetables, and it's very difficult to get them to eat it. But eventually, when they become of a certain age, they integrate the taste, touch, and smell, so they get a combined flavour rather than a single blast of bitterness, and that's what allows them, I think, to eat vegetables eventually.

Chris - Oh, that's fascinating. So, the kids when they're experiencing taste are literally experiencing it one dimensionally - the taste or the smell.

Barry - Their getting a taste and the smell, whereas we're actually getting something that combines the two.

Chris - The whole experience.

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