Monday, September 27, 2021

Can Kid's Aversion to Broccoli be Blamed on Genes?


        It has always been known that children are not fond of vegetables, especially broccoli.  Broccoli is part of a group named the Brassica group.  Other than broccoli, the Brassica group also contains cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  These specific vegetables contain a compound called S-methyl-ʟ-cysteine sulfoxide, which can cause bacteria in the mouth if mixed with a certain type of saliva.  This compound was tested with saliva samples from parent and children's pairs, with the children between ages 6 and 8 years old.  When these samples were tested, it turned out that both the parents, and their children shared similar samples of saliva.   The children with a high amount of sulfur volatiles hated the Brassica vegetables, but the parents with a similar sample did not have the same reaction to the vegetables, as they did not find the taste as bad as their children did.  This could be because the parents got used to the taste of Brassica vegetables over the years and can now tolerate the taste.  These findings strongly indicate that the dislike of broccoli in children is passed down from their parents through genetics due to the fact that saliva with a high amount of sulfur volatiles is passed down, and that causes the taste of broccoli to be disliked.  

    Tastes and eat habits are both controlled by genes according to researchers.  Taste receptors on the tongue are another genetically inherited reason to believe that a kid's hatred for broccoli is due to genes.  Different people from different continents and populations also differ in their taste by being able to taste, or not taste certain things.  This shows that with a little evolution for different areas and genetics from ancestors in that region, taste genes can be different and affected through genes.  

     Genes can be partially blamed for kid's aversion to broccoli and other Brassica Vegetables.


  1. Thank goodness I have the genes to like Broccoli then. I don't think I could enjoy life without it. I wonder if there's a particular reason for this condition of disliking the flavor? Maybe a metabolic issue that's stuck around too long? For instance, some people also have problems with almonds and cilantro. They taste soapy to them. Perhaps a mild allergic reaction or the body signifying that it wouldn't be metabolized properly?

  2. I knew a lot of children are not fond of broccoli growing up, but I was not aware of how high amounts of sulfur volatiles contributed to individuals disliking broccoli. I also did not know that the dislike of broccoli could be passed down through genetics. I guess now there is a valid excuse for children not wanting to eat vegetables due to how taste receptors can influence if a child will like broccoli or not. Great post, overall!

  3. I never would have thought that my liking to broccoli could be genetic! I always avoided it because most kids do, but when I tried it I actually liked it. I think sometimes kids avoid certain foods for many reasons but don't even know what they like until they try it for the first time. Sometimes, too, our taste buds change as we get older so if we don't like something the first time, we may be hesitant to try it again without realizing we may in fact like it again.