ELi5: does anyone know the science behind not liking foods

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I hate peanut butter but I wish I liked it. I everyone is re a peanut butter and jam (jelly for the Americans) I want one so bad but I hate the flavour peanut butter. It’s the same with eggs I wished I liked eggs but I can’t stand them. So does anyone know why the body does not like certain foods?

In: Biology

3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Do you know you don’t like them because you tasted them?

Or are you sure you won’t like them and have not actually tasted?

I’m asking because I had childhood food neophobia. I was actually terrified of certain things and refused to try them. It’s possible that maybe my mother tried these foods with me at an age too young to remember…. The pain fear was pineapple, most other fruits, and meat. I was an EXTREMELY picky eater.

I now eat some fruits and all kinds of meats, but pineapple is still out.

Anonymous 0 Comments

People are born with about 300k taste buds, and we die with 100k. Children are more sensitive to certain flavors (bitter or sour plants can be poisonous if we still lived in the wild) to keep them safe from putting anything and everything in their mouths. Its why most children don’t like the taste of coffee, beer or wine.

Some people have even more taste buds (the little sensors in your mouth that taste sugar, salt, alcohol, etc) than others, which makes some foods taste too intense to them

Some people have texture sensitivities, and don’t like slippery, oily, pasty, greasy or curdled (e.g. yogurt, clumpy jelly) foods.

Some people can taste more ‘details’ than others. Like some people can taste the soapy element in cilantro (fresh coriander), while most people can barely taste that, so it doesn’t bother them.

And none of this includes how complex our nose system is. Your nose has a lot to do with what you like as well.

To widen your food choices, as you get older, you should taste the things you don’t like now. Kids who think brussel sprouts, or yogurt, is disgusting now, may like them in their 20s, after their bitter and sour taste buds have mellowed out a bit. It took me until my 30s to like coffee, it was always too bitter.

There is no right or wrong, or obligation to enjoy certain foods. Go with what you like, and don’t let people force their preferences on you. Just because you’re Italian doesn’t mean you have to love espresso.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There’s not a lot of actual empirical data around it, but evolutionary biologists suspect that it’s tied to our ongoing survival. Basically our tastes that keep us alive become genetically codified as “safe foods” so we are more inclined to like them and eat more of them. It’s a theory based around the guess for how certain animals become driven to eat certain types of diets and know that it’s safe for them to do so without the capability of language to explain so, or how do they end up avoiding eating poisonous stuff even if it’s in their diet category. People who grow up in communities not exposed to those flavors aren’t going to have that codification yet, so while they might learn to like them with familiarity, it’s just not their default setting.