If you can’t stand broccoli it could be down to your genes, study shows

While the idea of a salad will get some people’s taste buds tingling, for others, the idea of chomping through a bowl of vegetables sounds more like a punishment.

Now, a study has revealed that some people are actually genetically wired to dislike vegetables.

Researchers from the University of Kentucky found that people who inherit two copies of a certain gene variant experience vegetables like broccoli and sprouts as having a bitter taste.

Everyone inherits two copies of a taste gene called TA2R38 – one from your mother and one from your father.

However, there are several variants of the gene, which can affect your sensitivity to bitter flavours.

For example, people who inherit two copies of a variant called AVI aren’t sensitive to bitter flavours, while those with one AVI variant and one PAV variant perceive bitter tastes.

And for people with two copies of the PAV variant, some foods taste extremely bitter.

Dr Jennifer Smith, who led the study, said: “We're talking a ruin-your-day level of bitter when they tasted the test compound.

“These people are likely to find broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage unpleasantly bitter.”

However, it’s not just vegetables that taste bitter to these people – other foods including dark chocolate, coffee and even beer can be unbearably bitter.

In the study, the researchers surveyed 175 people about their food preferences, and analysed their taste genes.

The results revealed that people with two copies of the PAV variant were more than 2.5 times more likely to eat minimal vegetables, than those with the AVI variant.

Dr Smith added: “We thought they might take in more sugar and salt as flavour enhancers to offset the bitter taste of other foods, but that wasn't the case.

“Down the road we hope we can use genetic information to figure out which vegetables people may be better able to accept and to find out which spices appeal to supertasters so we can make it easier for them to eat more vegetables.”

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