As you've gotten older, you may have noticed some taste changes. You may be eating a lot more foods now than you did when you were younger or maybe you don't like certain foods you used to enjoy. 

You may have never thought over the years you would be saying, "Hey, vegetables and dark chocolate are actually pretty tasty." Try telling five-year-old you that this dark chocolate bark will be the best thing you've ever had. Not happening.

Yes, our personal preferences change as we get older, but there is also a physiological reason why we start to like different foods as we age. 

As a nutrition major, I learn about this stuff on a daily basis. In fact, I actually just got tested on it. So consider this your very own food science class to learn what's really going on with your senses.

Emma Delaney

Basically, our foods don't taste as strong as they use to. Different flavors are better tolerated because our senses diminish from having less taste buds. So that super bitter coffee your dad gave you back in the day may not be so bitter anymore. Heck, you may now even be obsessed with it.

Kids have way more of these receptors than adults since they have more taste buds. They also have them located on the roof of their mouths and inside their cheeks. This means they can have insane taste explosions with foods that adults may not.  

As we get older, we lose some of these taste buds, so the sensations aren't as strong.

Christin Urso

Let's go over some basics to explain why our taste senses may diminish.  Our tongue can distinguish between five different tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami . We receive these sensations via tiny receptors on our taste buds, which then get sent to our brain.  

Going in deeper we take a look at taste thresholds, which are the different levels those five flavors can be noted. Basically, some flavors need more or less quantity in order to taste them.

For example, bitterness has the lowest taste threshold, so you only need a tiny amount of it before you can taste it. This explains kids' faces after they eat dark chocolate.

On the other hand, saltiness and sweetness have the highest taste threshold. This may be why some people can drown their food in salt and sugar and still stand the taste of it.

Jevette Brown

Repetition does help a lot. As we get older, we have more opportunities to taste new things. As we gain exposure to new foods, we are more likely to enjoy them as time goes on.  

However, as college students our taste buds are not completely exhausted yet. We have about a good 30-40 years before we have to worry about not tasting our sweet and salty foods

At this point, our taste sensations are great, just not as intense as back in our childhood. So sit back, grab a piece of dark chocolate, and enjoy it while you can.