If you regularly partake of the standard American diet, there’s a good chance your palate is pretty desensitized to the natural flavor of a lot of foods. The more sugar we consume, the more desensitized our palates become, and you don’t need me to tell you a lot of our food is packed with added sugars.
But reseting your palate is not an overnight process. With that in mind, Siggi’s, a company best known for its Icelandic skyr cultured dairy products, has released what it’s calling a “Palate Training Kit.”
It sounds complex, but the concept is actually quite straightforward and low-tech: follow some tips, tricks, and experiments provided by the company and, over the course of a few months, you can retrain your palate to crave less refined sugar.
Said kit is not full of food tech bells and whistles, either. Instead, it comes with a guide full of tips on how to retrain your palate, starting with simple steps like gradually reducing the amount of sugar in your food by reading more labels and making healthier choices. (For example, use cinnamon as a topper instead of sugar on your oatmeal.)
From there, users can do activities geared towards helping them fully taste their food, such as wearing an eye mask during a meal to activate your other senses to the eating process. The kit also includes a timer and a month’s supply of Siggi’s in various flavors. Users are encouraged to time themselves for 15 seconds while eating a bit of skyr in order to pay better attention to flavors, texture, color, and other elements.
While there’s undeniably a layer of “marketing gimmick” here, there is also a decent amount of consumer education bundled into the package. Americans consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, largely because of its inclusion in packaged and processed goods. Because of that, our palates believe certain foods should be sweeter than they naturally are.
For example, at an online event this week showing off the kit, Siggi’s founder Siggi Hilmarsson suggested that yogurt in its more natural form is meant to have a tart, slightly sour taste. You wouldn’t know that from eating a can of Yoplait, though (18 grams of sugar per serving).
Hilmarsson pointed out that one of the more difficult parts of retraining the human palate is that it takes time, sometimes up to three months or more. The result, however, is that foods that once tasted normal (think fancy Starbucks drinks or boxed cereal) will start to taste way too sweet.
As is always the case with consumer education, there’s a big transition between raising awareness and enacting real behavioral change. Whether a simple kit like the one Siggi’s just released can do the trick is partly a matter of how motivated the user is in the first place. Nonetheless, it’s another piece of useful information about how we can improve our eating habits over time.
The kit includes a “flavor desensitization reversal guide,” an eyemask, a timer, a journal, a spoon, and 30 days’ worth of Siggi’s yogurt in various flavors (including plain). The package is available for $30 directly from Siggi’s.