For me, there is no question that I have a serious sweet tooth. I have always loved chocolate, cake, all types of candy and ice cream. While I definitely have my moments of craving chips or pizza, my sweet tooth outweighs my salty cravings. If you’re not sure which one you prefer more, click here to find out.
So why do you prefer one over the other? According to this article, everyone contains a specific combination of genes that determines how our taste buds perceive flavor. People who have a sweet tooth contain certain DNA in taste receptors which are found in the intestines and on the tongue. People who have more taste buds may prefer salty foods. Studies have also shown that babies who were born premature with low sodium levels might grow up wanting salty foods.
According to this article, the flavors that we are first exposed to in the womb are often the ones we crave as adults. The article also explains that DNA is not the only factor that influences the flavors we prefer. It says that we grow up associating foods and flavors with childhood memories and experiences with specific foods. For example, if your dad always gave you lollipops when you were younger, you might associate that sweetness with love, forcing you to always remember and want that flavor.
While we always hear of people with a strong sweet tooth, craving salty foods often goes under the radar. However, there is an interesting explanation (with a reference to Penn State) for why people crave salty foods. People who would rather snack on chips and pretzels than cupcakes and ice cream are called “supertasters.” Supertasters contain a unique genetic makeup that elevates their taste perception. This means that the flavors they taste are stronger than how most people perceive them. Supertasters are also sensitive to bitterness, and salt tones down the bitter flavor, making supertasters want more salt.
Whether you have a strong sweet tooth or you’re a supertaster, there are plenty of explanations to explain why you are what you are. Now go grab your favorite snack and if you haven’t already, take the quiz linked above to find out if you have a sweet tooth or prefer salty foods!