"This is not just an esthetic or parenting issue, but a major dietary and economic issue," according to Michael Naim, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Naim pointed out that the food industry and individual cooks use such "tricks as masking the bitter taste of healthy greens with salad dressing or sugar, or in the case of other foods, just taking out the offending taste. From the viewpoint of nutrition and health promotion, including removal of antioxidants, these are undesirable stopgap solutions."
Responding to popular demands for lower-calorie foods, scientists together with the food industry over the past few decades have developed numerous sugar substitutes, but most share a common failing: bad aftertaste. "Unfortunately for the industry and we consumers," Naim said, "sucrose is regarded by humans as the optimal sweetener. In contrast to all the artificial sweeteners it has a pure sweet taste, no aftertaste and no add-on attributes other than sweetness."
A working 'aftertaste' hypothesis: certain tastants block the natural taste 'off-switch'
Despite the obvious need for improved artificial sweeteners, progress in finding acceptable sugar substitutes is slow, and uncovering even a hint of the physiology of "aftertaste" has been even slower. But on the basis of recent experiments, Naim's team has developed a working hypothesis that certain bitter and artificial sweet tastants somehow enter the taste-bud cells where they inhibit the natural termination of the taste-receptor signal resulting in what we call