At the risk of turning this into the broccoli blog, HuffPo serves up an interesting companion piece to Tuesday’s post. In the comments I remarked that no one is neutral about broccoli. You either love it or you hate it. Well, here come the geneticists to explain why that is:
Broccoli has certainly earned its healthful reputation as a superfood, yet its flavor remains more controversial. But why is it that some people simply can’t stand the taste, while others love it?
The answer might partly come down to genetics, explains John E. Hayes, Ph.D., assistant professor of food science and director of the Sensory Evaluation Center at the Pennsylvania State University. While past explanations have focused on the idea of “supertasters,” he says that’s less applicable to broccoli.
Instead, variations on a gene called TAS2R38 could explain why some people turn their noses up at the green stuff. This gene can affect how people perceive bitterness; a compound called allylglucosinolate is what causes the bitter taste in broccoli. What’s more, the variant you have of this gene could explain overall vegetable consumption patterns, not just broccoli, according to Hayes.