How do humans “develop” taste for food/drinks? For example: Beer, Wine etc.


How do humans “develop” taste for food/drinks? For example: Beer, Wine etc.

In: 5

I don’t think anything _physically_ changes in the body. Our cells _are_ dying all the time as new ones get made, and sometimes that can make our tastebuds respond differently to foods over time.

However, what’s happening over the short term when it comes to drinks or other foods you eat a lot of – you just simply get used to it. It doesn’t necessarily taste better, you just get used to it and it doesn’t really matter anymore, maybe it even starts to grow on you like the family dog grows on the dad who said they didn’t want it

In the same vein, people say their “tolerance” goes up when they get used to drinking alcohol. That doesn’t exist, you just get better at masking the effects to feel/act normally.

Edit: typo

**TL;DR:** ***There’s two answers. First, our taste buds actually change. Second, the people and events around us help us adapt to it.***

The shorter one is that our ability to taste stuff changes as we age. We don’t generally like broccoli or onions or garlic when we’re young. We find those tastes a LOT milder when we’re older because our reactions to chemicals also change. So the sulfury stench of pickles or broccoli becomes a mild bitter note to balance sweetness later.

The second, more complex reason, has to do with positive association. What that means is “after a few times of doing something, I realized that it wasn’t as unpleasant as I thought, and actually there were some pleasant or positive aspects of it too.”

For example: dude takes his first shot of hard liquor at first drinking age. UGH. TERRIBLE. But later, he realized that he was the centre of attention from his “drinking age party buds” for that time. That was a positive. And he survived it. Another positive. Also, he recalls them talking about it afterward, so THEY remember HIM. Another positive. So he tries again. Now he’s used to the taste a bit, can deal with it. And it’s still pleasant, and he’s behaving like the others around him, so it’s now something he can really enjoy because it’s a repeating pleasant thing to look forward to.

Same thing for bad-testing veggies. As you get older, you realize that, hey most people my age actually EAT onions, or spaghetti with a little crushed pepper on it, or zippy jalapeno boats with mozza. Or maybe you don’t want to look weird in front of a date with your aversion so you sigh and dig in. That’s motivation for you to try it again yourself… and when you’re older, because your taste sense changes, it’s not as unpleasant… and eventually becomes pleasant.

(One more thing: habit-forming substances or activities. We have a tendency to make up excuses for doing stuff that we’ve formed a habit for. The positive-result cycle explains these until we’re addicted.)

Drink a beer – tastes like shit.
Repeat until it doesn’t.
It’s simply familiarity and an adaption mechanism working.

We humans are well equipped to adapt to almost any environment we find ourselves in. We don’t remember developing a taste for anything but we did and that ability doesn’t leave us simply because we grow older.

The taste buds we have were acquired from our parents but that only means we have certain preferences. We can learn, simply by repeated exposure, to enjoy other things…..yes even broccoli. Most people don’t want to or don’t see a benefit to doing that.

Frankly it is just like any other experience. The first time it is over-whelming and you are so focused on the big, upfront, aspects of it that you don’t notice the details. As you get used to the leading elements and start to notice the details the experience becomes richer.

Think about the first time you went skiing, or sky diving, or downhill mountain biking, whatever it was the first experience is just the insane rush of speed. It isn’t until you’ve done it for a while that you even really notice the technique and how it influences things.