Study Finds Women Are Better Tasters, Men Have More Adventurous Palates

Photograph by slopjop

M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl, Mimi Sheraton — their famous palates might have something to do with their ladyness. A massive Danish study on the eating habits of young people finds that girls, across the board, have a better sense of taste than boys:

One of the many findings shows that girls are generally better at recognising tastes than boys. They are better at recognising all concentrations of both sweet and sour tastes. The difference is not dramatic, but it is quite clear... According to the figures, boys need an average of approximately 10 per cent more sourness and approximately 20 per cent more sweetness to recognise the taste.

I'm no expert, but this makes me wonder about "guy foods" and "girl foods."

It's been my unofficial hypothesis for a while now that intensely strong flavors — super-spicy food, fiery whiskey, mega-umami charcuterie — are largely the provenance of men. Could this be because women have, on balance, more sensitive palates? And then on the flipside there are the so-called women's foods, salad and plain grilled chicken and other stock stand-up comedy dishes, that women might like more than men do because they can taste the natural sugars more easily.

And hey! This crazy hypothesis of mine is corroborated by the Danish study!

Funnily enough, girls generally prefer flavours which are not too strong. Boys, on the other hand, tend to like the more extreme flavours. Boys also have a sweeter tooth than girls – most of the boys preferred the super sweet soft drink variety. And most boys also gave top marks to the sourest samples.

I feel so vindicated. Score one for baseless theorizing!


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