Taste Buds Todd Detwiler Because Brussels sprouts are bitter, and kids generally don't like bitter tastes. It's not their fault. Researchers say that an aversion to bitter and sour (generally a heightened gag reflex) is a survival instinct, since most toxins taste that way too. On the other hand, sweetness typically indicates that something is safe to eat, so children are born with a preference for sweets. What we like to eat changes over time. As we age, we realize that even though something tastes bitter or sour, it won't kill us, and we learn to enjoy it. When we're older, we lose some of our olfactory sensitivity-we can't smell as well. Humans need smell to experience flavor, which is different than taste (minty, for example, is a flavor but not a taste). We also lose taste buds with age. With our senses diminished, we'll probably begin adding sugar and salt...
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