Loathe eating certain vegetables? It could come down to your genes, say scientists at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. According to their research, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 in Philadelphia, people who inherit two copies of a certain variant of the taste gene TAS2R38 are so-called “super-tasters” and perceive vegetables like broccoli and cabbage to be oh-so-bitter.
In evolutionary terms, being sensitive to bitter taste may have been beneficial—protecting humans from nibbling on items that could have been poisonous. That’s not the problem today, but study authors say it could explain why some individuals struggle to consume the recommended servings of vegetables. Strategies to help super-tasters enjoy stronger-tasting veggies like Brussels sprouts include roasting them, which subdues bitter-tasting compounds, or using bitter-masking spices.