MadSci Network: Evolution

Re: why do some people like the taste of a food and others hate it??

Date: Tue Jun 8 14:39:59 1999
Posted By: Jeffrey Utz, M.D., Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University
Area of science: Evolution
ID: 928793428.Ev

I think there are two reasons why people do not like the taste of some 

The first is that there are some smells (smelling the food in your mouth 
is actually the main way you get the flavor of the food) that some people 
can smell and others do not. One example is the smell that is put into 
natural gas so that people can smell when there is a leak. About 1% of the 
population actually cannot smell this. This genetic variation in the smell 
of certain foods might turn some people off to certain foods.

However, I think the main reason why people do not like the taste of some 
foods is that people tend to like the taste of foods that they grew up 
with. For example, people who grew up where there are lots of hot foods, 
like hot peppers or other spices (in Southwest US and India, for example), 
like the hot foods, and people who grew up in other parts where there is 
not much hot food tend not to like hot foods. Foods whose tastes are 
acquired this way include corn (corn, I believe, is only used in Europe for 
feeding animals), liver, anchovys (for pizza), olives, pork, and peas.

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