Many factors determine our taste preferences. From evolution to genetics. Over time, they tend to change. Why do we change our taste preferences? Evolution, among other things, influences this.
In childhood, we prefer sweet tastes. This usually decreases around the age of 15, explains Live Science. Sweetness is usually an indication of a calorie-rich food. It is key to growth, development and survival. Says biopsychologist Julie Mennella of the Monell Center for Chemical Senses in Philadelphia. Compared to adults, children also like salt more. It’s an essential mineral for brain and muscle function.
The bitter taste could denote something poisonous or spoiled, Mennella argues. The agency ensures that growing children take in plenty of calories by avoiding “toxins.”
Gestation also plays a role. A study was conducted in 2019. Foods consumed by women during pregnancy “flavor” their amniotic fluid. Fetuses receive information about which ones are safe to consume Teaches tastes to babies in a similar way.
Age and intense taste
Repeated exposure to new foods helps expand the palate. Tasting vegetables as infants facilitates their acceptance later in life. Childhood foods also create “emotionally potent” memories. We evoke them through taste. This emotional weight favors certain tastes.
Another factor is age. Our tastes may change as we age. Our ability to sense tastes and smells changes. In youth, taste and smell are more acute. Tastes are felt more intensely. In old age, it can make some tastes more tolerable. Consumption of supersweet and salty foods tends to increase in old age.
So why do we change our taste preferences? Actually, many aspects of our genetics and our experiences come together. The visual appearance, texture and convenience of certain foods are part of this.