Berkshire

Sprout dislike 'caused by genes' says university doctor

  • 27 December 2011
  • From the section Berkshire
Brussels sprouts
Dr Methven says people with more than the average number of taste buds experience sprouts as bitter

A University of Reading doctor says the reason some people do not like Brussels sprouts is because they have a genetic over-sensitivity to them.

Dr Lisa Methven, a lecturer in food and nutritional sciences, said some people were born with over-sensitive taste buds on the tongue.

On average a person has 25 types of bitter receptors but some have more.

She said that the more taste buds on someone's tongue, the more likely they were to taste sprouts as bitter.

"These people have a heightened perception of the bitter taste - we call them 'supertasters' - and this is due to their genetic make-up," Dr Methven said.

"They experience the bitter taste up to 60 times higher than someone with an average number of taste buds."

But, she said, an unpalatable taste was not an excuse to spurn sprouts and other green vegetables.

"Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you can't train yourself to like it," she said.

"If you keep on trying, you probably will like it in the end."

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