Attention, Sprout Haters: Some People Are ‘Genetically Wired’ To Hate Vegetables

Attention, Sprout Haters: Some People Are ‘Genetically Wired’ To Hate Vegetables

If you try to eat well, chances are you include plenty of fresh fruits and veggies into your diet. But there are some people who just hate the taste of certain vegetables, and while we might put it down to personal preference or an unsophisticated palette, the truth is that it’s all down to genetics.

  1. Science proves it: we’re “genetically wired” this way. Research out of the University of Kentucky School of Medicine discovered that those who insist they just can’t stand some vegetables aren’t being willfully difficult, they have a legit reason for it: their genetics make the vegetables taste terrible.
  2. Wait, what? There’s an “unpleasant taste gene” that some people have, and if you inherit two copies of it, one from each of your parents, it can mean that vegetables give you a “ruin-your-day level of bitterness” any time you eat them. Who wants to taste that all the time?
  3. It could even ruin typically delicious foods. Gene TAS2R38, have variations called AVI and PAV. Those with the AVI variant aren’t hyper-sensitive to bitter tastes, but those who get the PAV version could find that even things that many of us love, like coffee, dark chocolate, and even beer, taste terrible.
  4. Believe it or not, the gene does serve a purpose. Evolutionarily speaking, having an unpleasant taste gene has helped humanity by helping us avoid foods that are potentially hazardous/poisonous and that could kill us back when we were foraging in the wild. It’s not much help now, really, but it’s not completely without merit.
  5. This is important information for nutritionists and doctors to know. Lead study author Dr. Jennifer Smith thinks medical professionals need to take this genetic variation in mind when they advise patients to eat more vegetables, as it’s not entirely realistic in those cases. “You have to consider how things taste if you really want your patient to follow nutrition guidelines,” she said.
  6. Further research is needed, but it’s a start. While we do still need to eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg for our health, the more research is done on this topic, the more we can potentially find workarounds for those who find vegetables really hard to eat.
Piper is a NYC-based writer who loves dogs, iced coffee, and calling people out on their BS.