The Difference between Taste & Flavor

Jiuseppe M Russo RD, CD-N, Clinical Dietitian Manager, Hebrew Health Care

Everything about a food, from the smell to the packaging to the place or time we are eating can influence how we perceive flavor.  We can even be swayed by how a food is described by someone before we try it.  If something is labeled “very sweet” we tend to believe it tastes sweeter than it is.  Now add our individual genetics into the mix and it is easy to see how flavor is about much more than just taste.

Give healthy a chance.  One unfortunate example of taste vs. flavor is the myth that healthy food “tastes” bad. If you believe this stereotype, consider giving some healthy items another try with a clean slate. For a fun spin, try some foods through a blind taste test. You may be surprised with the results.

Keep trying.  With so many factors influencing flavor, it is worth giving foods a few tries before putting them on your dislike list. Vary the preparation and even the time or location and be open to the possibility of a new flavor.

 Eat Mindfully.  Part of mindful eating is awareness of many of the factors that can impact how we perceive flavor. When you eat, reduce distraction and dedicate your focus to eating.

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