Taste buds. We hear about them all the time. Advertisers are constantly telling us to give our taste buds what they want. But when was the last time you really thought about what a taste bud actually is, or how it fits in to the beautifully complex process of metabolism? In fact, each of your taste buds is a highly intelligent sense organ whose seeming simplicity hides its crucial role in our digestion. From influencing the dietary choices we make to signaling the brain to release the enzymes that start breaking down our food, taste buds have a lot to say – and it’s time we paid them a little more attention. In this fascinating new video from IPEtv, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, takes a close look at the humble taste bud and offers some practical tips for working with the innate wisdom that these smart little sensors possess.
In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment!
Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Greetings, friends. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Let’s talk about retraining your taste buds. What the heck is a taste bud? They’re these specialized nerve endings that are found all over the tongue. And they are designed to tell brain and gut all about the food that you are eating.
Taste buds relay to your body information about the nutrient content in your food, the toxicity of the food, the freshness, the safety, and all the as yet undiscovered amounts of relevant information that helps the body determine what to do next.
Taste buds on your tongue help your brain and gut decide, “Should I eat more? And when should I stop eating?”
Now, taste buds also function to turn you on, to give you straight up pleasure. You have essentially about four kinds of taste buds – now we’re saying about five – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, maybe one that’s more pungent. But anyway why do we have all those sweet taste buds there? They’re there to give you pleasure. That’s it. We have organs of pleasure in our body. We’re humans. The way we’re designed is pretty interesting.
Now, pleasure helps us survive. We need to be driven to eat at the most fundamental level of our genetics. So I want you to think of taste buds as tiny little brains. And just like the brain, taste buds learn. I mean this. Taste buds can be very, very smart. They can also be dumbed down.
Think of it, you say, “Wow, that person has such good taste.” What are you saying when somebody has good taste? You’re saying that they’re refined, that they’ve studied the world, that they’ve looked at life and they can tell the difference between a bad wine and a good wine. They can tell the difference between a great car and a poor car, good furniture, bad furniture. They can distinguish.
When we say “good taste,” it means we can distinguish at a higher level the finer things.
Now, the brain can be conditioned to do a lot of dumb nonsense and damaging acts, like addiction, like violence, like hurtful thoughts or actions. If the brain can be conditioned to do that, so, too, can the taste buds be dumbed down. And I wish this wasn’t true, my friends, really. But people who consistently eat a diet of poor quality, mass-produced, artificial, unnatural, GMO-driven kind of foods, they’ve brought their taste buds into a place where they give signals to the brain that self-harm. It’s like stupid television for your tongue.
And big food companies – I’ve worked for them – they totally understand this. They highly engineer the taste of food, the texture, the amount of crunch, the decibel level that you perceive in your head so you will be attached, so your taste buds will be grabbed and they can hook you on your food. Their job is to addict the intelligence of your taste buds to the cheapest mass-produced food so they can make tremendous profits. That’s the game right there.
Now, let me ask you this question. Have you ever been a junk food eater? You went on a healthy diet for a little while, and all of a sudden you found that you could no longer eat so many of the junk foods that you used to love? If so, that’s your taste buds getting smarter. That’s all it is.
It’s no different than if you use to date the worst people when you were younger. And now you don’t do that nonsense anymore. Why? Because your love intelligence got better. Your dating intelligence got better. Your taste bud intelligence can get better. So it’s time to reeducate your tongue.
So as an experiment, try this out. Eat real food for one month.
Give this to yourself. I promise you, your life will totally change. You’re going to liberate your taste buds from taste bud kindergarten into a whole new world of taste intelligence that will deliver to you your most natural appetite regulation and a more efficient metabolism. Wise up your tongue. One month: real food, healthy food. Let go of the junk. And you will see your life transform, my friends.
And that, indeed, is the magic of life.
Become a Mind Body Eating Coach
Now enrolling for June 2023.
Make real, lasting change - in your life and the lives of others using eating psychology coaching tools.
Subscribe to The Psychology of Eating Podcast
Get notified when new episodes go live.