New Toxic Chemical Created To Stop Bitterness In Food
March 31st, 2011
By: Jason Best
For generations, kids (and plenty of adults) have been asking the same question: “Why do so many things that are good for you have to taste so bad?”
Well, scientists haven’t yet figured out how to make broccoli taste like a root beer float, but they are working on a way to at least make healthier foods more palatable. We all know that foods like spinach and broccoli are packed with nutrients like calcium, magnesium and zinc. The only problem is: those same nutrients taste nose-wrinklingly bitter on the tongue.
But what if you could take the taste of, say, spinach down a notch or two?
At the national conference of the American Chemical Society, researches have announced that they’re trying to do just that. As Live Science reports, scientists as the Givaudan Flavors Corporation in Ohio have developed an enhanced “bitterness blocker” called GIV3616. Added to food, it targets certain taste buds and keeps them from recognizing bitter tastes.
An estimated 25 percent of the population (and, let’s face it, probably 100 percent of kids) are what food scientists call “supertasters,” people who have a heightened sensitivity to bitter foods. While vegetables like broccoli and spinach may always taste too bitter to them, even with added bitterness blockers, food companies are hoping to use additives like GIV3616 to make their products healthier. Until now, off-tastes in processed foods have often been masked with things that aren’t so great for you, like excess salt, sugar and fat.
As one of the scientists who developed GIV3616 put it: “Blocking flavors we call off-notes could help consumers eat healthier and more varied diets. It could encourage them to switch to non-calorie soft drinks and help children and seniors swallow bitter-tasting medications.”