Spring- A Time to Retrain Your Tastebuds

One interesting fact that I have discovered in my reading and research is how Americans have become desensitized to natural flavors because of the processed foods we often eat. No longer does an autumn apple or a summer peach satisfy our “sweet tooth”, we have to have that apple pie or that peach cobbler (with ice cream of course) in order to quench that sweet craving. It has taken me many years to retrain my taste buds and hence my cravings, but now I do not crave those too sweet or too fatty foods. I also know that if I do have something sweet, I must tell myself that one small piece is it- no second helpings or leftovers or my want for sweet treats will quickly be revived.

Here are some tips from http://www.todaysdietitian.com. Click here for the whole article. (and disregard the term “evolutionarily” :))

To successfully retrain clients’ palates, Blatner (a dietitian) uses the following three techniques:

• increase availability and accessibility by purchasing more wholesome foods and keeping them easy to grab;

• practice patience and persistence by repeating exposure to healthy foods daily; and

• try flavor-flavor training by pairing unliked foods with liked flavors to authentically start liking unliked foods.

“For the fruit example, I would have patients buy more fruit and keep it easy to grab, aim to eat 2 cups of fruit every day, and experiment with fruit-based desserts such as broiled bananas with a drizzle of honey, grilled peaches with a dollop of low-fat yogurt, and baked apples with cinnamon,” Blatner says.

“There is a saying I use when working with patients: ‘The more you eat something, the more you want it.’ So if you eat lots of fast-food hamburgers and fries, you want more of them,” she adds. “But on the other hand, if you begin to eat lots of salads, you will soon crave salads.”

Pelchat agrees: “If you really do stick to a different diet, less processed foods and more whole foods, your preferences will change and your cravings will also change with time. The old ones will never go away. But we know that people who change their eating habits [eg, begin to eat more fish and salads] begin to crave those things if they’re no longer available. So [people] seem to be able to learn new cravings. And with time, the frequency of the new cravings should increase and the frequency of the old ones should decrease as the old environmental cues go away.”

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