I mentioned in previous post that I like eating bitter food. I’ve been thinking that this is because I’m a vata. But this morning I learned that there’s another possibility: I like bitter food because I’m a psychopath.

Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. Here’s a quote:

According to the researchers, ‘The results suggest that how much people like bitter-tasting foods and drinks is stably tied to how dark their personality is.” These findings are the “first empirical evidence that bitter taste preferences are linked to malevolent personality traits.”

And here’s another…

The researchers explained in the journal Appetite, “General bitter taste preferences emerged as a robust predictor for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism.”

The last one:

Your run-of-the-mill serial killer may get some kind of thrill from eating bitter foods. After all, in the wild, plants that are poisonous tend to be bitter—and scientists say that may be why we non-psychopaths find bitter foods to be unappealing.

Bitter taste have been embraced for a really long time in Javanese cuisine. My ancestors ate steamed papaya leaves while the meneers enjoyed their sweet breakfasts. And let us look again on what the study said:

“General bitter taste preferences emerged as a robust predictor for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism.”

They’ll be surprised if they knew we were not the ones who set up Cultuurstelsel.

Don’t get me wrong, I love poffertjes and will sprinkle hagelslag liberally on my bread any time. My point was to show that taste choice and characters are unrelated. But I understand why bitter taste is hated (will discuss it later).

Sweet taste is overrated. Sugar addiction doesn’t have to happen, if we could respect bitter taste a bit more. Our tongue needs to experience various kinds of taste, not only the sweet one. That is why retraining it to accept bitter as the part of taste family is important. Cutting sugar won’t do much, if our tongue are not familiar to the long forgotten taste.

Here’s a good reason to eat bitter food:

But there is an appealing logic to consuming bitters for health. Just as sweets cause blood sugar, insulin, and hunger to spike and then dip — often leading, long term, to obesity and Type 2 diabetes — research indicates bitter foods can have the opposite effect, moderating both hunger and blood sugar.

Our tendency to avoid bitter taste stemmed from what our ancestors did in the past. Bitter taste was often related to toxicity, hence our instinct to stay away from it and opt for sweet food, which was never toxic. We can use this tendency to cut our sugar intake (or control overeating in general).

This one below is taken from the same source above.

If the plant that one of our hunter-gatherer ancestors munched was bitter and toxic, it would be pro-survival if that bitter-taste “signal” tamped down hunger so he or she would eat less of it. Today, we can consciously exploit that tendency by eating bitters before meals to help control appetite.

There’s another reason (same source):

Bitter foods also stimulate the liver to produce bile, which is an important part of optimal digestion. Bile emulsifies fats and renders nutrients — especially fat-soluble ones such as vitamins A, D, E and K — more available. Another way to express this: Bitter foods challenge the liver. They make it work and help it to remain healthy, just as muscles challenged by exercise function better than ones that atrophy from underuse.

Bitter taste has become a part of Chinese cuisine for a long time. In Japanese tradition, matcha is served unsweetened because it is to be enjoyed with sweet cakes. The bitterness of the tea balances the sweetness of cake. I knew someone who would look in horror when they saw people adding sugar to their matcha.

Here’s more on how we built our like/dislike on certain taste:

“Infants have innate preferences towards certain taste qualities and dislikes of other tastes.2 Infants prefer sweet-tasting foods and reject bitter foods such as certain vegetables.” … “Some researchers believe that infants begin to accept bitter tastes around the age of 14–180 days.4″  (source: Eufic)

We don’t have to avoid sugar altogether as it is also needed in our body. It’s good to keep things balanced and be careful about what we eat. In case we don’t love ourselves enough, perhaps we can use future generation as an excuse to start a better eating habit.

Our eating habit influences our kids’.

*signing out with sadistic stare*