If you’ve ever gotten bored with eating the same thing during a meal, you’ve probably experienced palate fatigue. It’s where your taste buds get desensitised and you feel bored from eating a type of food which provides the same taste over and over. Whilst this may sound like a bad thing, I’d see it as more of a good thing which can be used to prevent overeating if you implement certain eating strategies.
What Is Palate Fatigue?
Palate fatigue is also known as taste bud exhaustion. It occurs from having the same taste bud receptors being stimulated over and over and makes it very difficult for us as human beings to continuously eat the same meal, three times a day (although ultra-processed foods can override this palate fatigue).
It’s one of the reasons humans like variety. One of the main reasons many people fail on diets is because they start to find them bland and boring. This is palate fatigue kicking in. Restrict your food options on a diet and you’re likely to ‘fail’ on your diet unless you can find enough ways to implement lots of variety. Keep eating lots of pizza and eventually, you’ll end up despising pizza, probably. Sounds impossible, but yes it could happen although it may take a while if you kept having different pizza toppings.
However, one positive aspect of palate fatigue is that it can help to prevent overeating. If you only have one or two types of food on your plate, you probably will stop when you feel full. If there are ten different dishes available at a buffet and you want a bit of all of them, you’ll definitely end up eating more than if you only had one or two dishes but in larger quantities.
Avoiding Palate Fatigue
Some tips to help avoid palate fatigue include:
- Eating different meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Processing foods differently, or cooking them using different preparation and cooking methods e.g. cutting vegetables, steaming, boiling, roasting
- Incorporating a variety of foods into your diet.
- Adding extra spices, herbs and flavours to your cooking.
Eating ultra processed foods takes longer to trigger palate fatigue due to the combination of fat and sugar in these foods which causes a large dopamine response giving us pleasure.
Using Palate Fatigue To Eat Less
Because of how palate fatigue makes you not want to eat, it can be incorporated into eating and dietary strategies to eat less food if you’re prone to overeating. Simply make your meals blander and limit your meals to a maximum of two or three different foods items. When you feel full, use that as a signal to stop eating and don’t go searching for other flavours to fill your mouth like a small piece of cake for dessert.
Instead of having a full English breakfast in the morning, try having just scrambled eggs with some salt and see how many you’d need to eat to be satisfied and satiated with your breakfast.
It sounds silly, but this is an effective way you can reduce your food intake whilst putting in less effort. You prepare less food, don’t have to think too much about what you’re eating and it’s easier to clean up.
Thanks for reading, if you found this post informative, I’d greatly appreciate it if you could share it with anyone you think would find it useful!