However, our genes can also affect our choices of certain foods and flavours. Your genes can make foods taste worse to you than they do to others.
Genetic variations can also make a person a “supertaster” who can’t endure the bitterness of certain vegetables, particularly the cruciferous types such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and cauliflower.
Here is the good news for you; food preferences can change over time (especially as you grow) with different taste experiences. You’ll then learn to like the foods you once disliked.
The genes influencing how strongly you taste bitter and savoury flavours may determine your overall diet quality. In contrast, the genes linked to sweetness are more significant for your heart and metabolic health.
The ability of a person to taste different foods and beverages starts with the taste buds located on the tongue. These can help you discern the five primary tastes; sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami.
There are reasons why people don’t always eat what is good for them but eat what tastes good to them. Here’s what we know about how genes affect the foods you like;
There are key taste
Taste bud is the primary culprit to different tastes. The human tongue has between 2,000 to 4,000 taste buds, and it can detect five different tastes – sweet, salt, sour, bitter, and umami (the savoury “meaty” flavour). Our tongues comprise many receptors for each taste.
Age can impact taste perception
The number and sensitivity of taste buds decline with age. Thus, taste perceptions often become more deadened in older people.
Hormones play an essential role in how we perceive the taste of foods. A person who is depressed and anxious will have lower levels of serotonin, which diminishes the brain’s ability to distinguish between bitter, sour and sweet.
Taste perception relies on the brain.
To taste food, information about taste has to get to the brain. Several things can determine those signals, including how many taste buds you have and whether those taste buds are super-adjusted to detect bitter foods.
Early experience is a determining factor of taste.
How food is experienced early (even while you’re still in the womb or breastfeeding) can influence your food preferences. If you’re a person that eats something and becomes sick, you are prone to have an aversion to the food.
Good to note:
You don’t need to force yourself to eat food just because it’s healthy. There are plenty of means to meet your nutrient needs without eating foods you don’t like. You can speak to a medical specialist to guide you on completing your nutritional demands.