Can We All Learn to Love Broccoli?

by Matthew Kadey, MS, RD on Dec 07, 2018

Food for Thought

Study finds food tastes less bitter if you eat more of it. You can thank your saliva for that.

From arugula to kale to radicchio, some of the healthiest foods tend to be the most bitter. That’s why many people won’t eat them. Well, it turns out the secret to eating more bitter-tasting foods may be—wait for it—simply eating more bitter foods.

In research presented at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in August 2018, scientists from Purdue University reported that the secret to this phenomenon lies in human saliva. The researchers discovered a change in the saliva of people who drank unsweetened chocolate almond milk three times a day for a week (pure cocoa is naturally bitter, which is why it’s often paired with sugar). Essentially, the composition of their saliva changed; there was an increase in the proteins that bind to astringent compounds, which made the milk taste less bitter.

Because saliva influences our perception of flavor, the more raw broccoli we eat, the less distasteful it may seem. Or, in the case of black coffee and dark chocolate, consuming more means you’ll need less sugar to mask their natural bitter edge.

Fitness Journal, Volume 16, Issue 1

Find the Perfect Job

More jobs, more applicants and more visits than any other fitness industry job board.

© 2019 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Matthew Kadey,  MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD IDEA Author/Presenter

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award-winning journalist, Canada-based dietitian, freelance nutrition writer and recipe developer. He has written for dozens of magazines including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Vegetarian Times and Fitness.