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Your Food Affects Your Mood

Updated on May 16, 2016

Are You Bitter?

I am not referring to eating a couple of Yankee Stadium hot dogs and having hot dog reflux all day, causing one to be moody.

The beginning of this understanding came about from a 2012 article in PLOS One, whereas it was found rats who refused saccharin, a bitter sweetener, were much more easily stressed, socially subordinate and passive when it came to competing for food.

Transferring animal research to actual human research, gustatory preferences appear directly linear to personality. It is estimated about thirty percent (30%) of humans can detect the bitter taste of 6-n-proplythiouracil (nasty taste). In general, those with this super sensitivity to bitter find bitter flavors less pleasing than the seventy percent (70%) rest of humans (estimated).

This sensitivity is believed to be a genetic increase of the fungiform papillae (a particular taste bud found on the tongue). The more fungiform papillae one has, the more sensitive to bitterness one experiences.

Over the course of human history, our brains have evolved, replacing primitive instincts with more complex thoughts. This is not to say these primitive instincts were deleted. They still exist, many times with a modernized social overlay.

-James Goetz (New Jersey)

What Is Your Tongue Telling You?

Going back to the rat experiments; in 2014, German and American psychologists found that like the bitter sensitive rats, humans too reacted as being oversensitive to external stimuli, such as loud noise.

Nature tells us typically bitter substances are toxic and should be avoided. Taking that idea into account, it makes sense that those with a heightened sense of danger (jumpiness) can be correlated to a sensitivity to potential toxins.


What's Your Taste?

Do You Prefer Bitter or Sweet Foods?

See results

Studies Show...

In January 2016's issue of Appetite, a study found a link between bitter taste and anti-social personality traits. In this study, about 1,000 Americans who enjoyed bitter foods such as coffee, grapefruit, etc., also enjoyed tormenting or manipulating others, with the purpose of self satisfaction.

A 2011 study showed bitter foods also affected reactions. Volunteers of this study ingested a bitter herbal tonic. They were found to judge various moral transgressions more severely than those drinking only water.

A group of studies in 2014 showed bitter food consumption leads to aggressive behavior. In one group, individuals consumed grapefruit juice while another group consumed water. Both groups were then asked how they would respond to a movie goer kicking the back of their seat at the theatre. The water group stated they would most likely ignore the kicking behavior. The grapefruit juice group however stated they would most likely threaten the seat kicker if the moviegoer did not cease kicking their seat.

How Do You Take Your Coffee?

Change it Up!

In understanding the relationship of bitter flavored foods to a bitter disposition, one may plan their meals accordingly and perhaps switch their bosses cup of coffee for something less bitter.



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