Picky Eating may be in your genes

In response to kids not liking their vegetables, Dr Jane Wardle says “Children could actually blame their mothers for this.” That’s because according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (co-authored by Wardle), neophobia – the fear of new foods and a condition I guess I suffer from – is mostly in the genes.

Identical twins, who share all genes, were much more likely to respond the same way to new foods than non-identical twins, who like other siblings only share about half their genes. Researchers concluded that genetics played a greater role in determining eating preferences than environment – since each pair of twins lived in the same household.

Wardle said food preferences appear to be “as inheritable a physical characteristic as height.”

Unlike nearly every other phobia, neophobia is a normal stage of human development.

Scientists theorize that it was originally an evolutionary mechanism designed to protect children from accidentally eating dangerous things – like poisonous berries or mushrooms.

The study also sheds light on why I have never had any idea what “bitter” is supposed to taste like.

Other taste-related traits – like the ability to taste bitterness – are also inherited. Scientists have already identified the gene responsible, and have found that approximately 30 percent of Caucasians lack the gene and cannot taste bitterness.

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