According to this Reuters report, scientists have suggested that preschoolers with sensitive taste buds were particularly attuned to detecting bitterness were less likely to eat their veggies.
In some cases, they balked at eating not only bitter vegetables, like broccoli and olives, but also sweeter fare like carrots and red peppers.
Scientists have identified a gene, dubbed TAS2R38, that controls a receptor for bitter flavor. A study published last year found that children with certain variations of that gene are particularly sensitive tasters, able to detect a very small amount of a bitter-tasting compound in water
According to the researchers, parents of fussy eaters should recognize that their children may not be having the same taste experience that they are
There is some comfort for parents who may think they are destined for a lifetime of mealtime struggles
“We do change our food preferences as we grow and learn,” Tepper said, noting that the “impact of genetics isn’t set in stone.”