Some broccoli haters are reacting to compounds called glucosinolates, which are also present in brussels sprouts and other so-called cruciferous vegetables.The standard theory explaining this gene is that it helps us avoid harmful plant toxins.To investigate, she teamed Penn geneticist Michael Campbell as well as researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center, Rutgers, and National Institutes of Health, and went off to Africa, since it's the source of humanity and much of our variation.Tishkoff said she thought they would find a simple evolutionary explanation - some people probably needed this particular toxin-detection system more than others depending on local food sources.From Kenya to Tanzania to Cameroon, Tishkoff and Campbell studied how people differed in their taste perception and their DNA.They had to reach some of the remotest parts of Africa lugging around 40 bottles of the PTC at different concentrations.If it were just a case of degeneration, they wouldn't see such a strong pattern, Tishkoff said, with all the African groups showing the same genetic variants in about the same proportions.Stephen Wooding of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center finds this particular taste-making gene so fascinating that he studies it in other primates.In 2006, he published a paper showing that there's a completely different mutation that disables the PTC tasting in chimps.It's part of a plant-animal arms race in which toxic and bitter compounds help the plants avoid being eaten by the animals.We humans have about 25 genes controlling our ability to taste bitter compounds, Wooding said, and the one Tishkoff's group studied helps us detect toxins that attack the thyroid and cause goiter.He agrees with the study's authors that the variation they saw among Africans suggests an upside to the nontasting version. .
The Broccoli Problem: Why Some People Taste Things More Bitter
The results showed a direct relationship between how much mRNA people's cells made, and their bitterness ratings of broccoli juice."The amount of messenger RNA that taste cells choose to make may be the missing link in explaining why some people with 'moderate taster' genes still are extremely sensitive to bitterness in foods and drinks," said study researcher Danielle Reed, a geneticist at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.The findings shows a new level of complexity in taste perception, and may ultimately lend insight into individual differences in food preferences and dietary choices, the researchers said."One of the biggest mysteries is what causes the variation in how much mRNA is produced, which could affect how bitter you perceive something, and does it change with diet or age?".Previous studies have shown that diet could affect the expression of genes involved in nutrient digestion and metabolism. .
Why kids hate broccoli: a foul combination with oral bacteria
There are a couple of reasons why broccoli can taste really bad, especially for children who are more sensitive, including bitter-taste compounds and gene variants.Now, scientists have found yet another factor that makes these plants unpalatable: enzymes in broccoli can combine with bacteria in our saliva to produce very unpleasant sulfurous odors.For some time, scientists have known that the TAS2R38 gene is responsible for regulating how humans sense bitterness in food, with huge evolutionary implications.The bitter taste, along with sourness, is thought to be protective, an early sign that is supposed to communicate ‘be careful, this food may be toxic’.Using gas chromatography-olfactometry-mass spectrometry, the researchers first measured the main odor-active compounds in raw and steamed cauliflower and broccoli.They then mixed saliva samples from each participant with raw cauliflower powder and analyzed the produced volatile compounds.Although children whose saliva produced the highest amount of sulfur volatiles predictably disliked raw Brassica vegetables the most, this relationship wasn’t as strong for their parents.This is perhaps due to less taste sensitivity with age and an acquired tolerance of the flavor with repeated exposure through life.The researchers also measured common genetic differences in bitter sensing receptor genes among the participants, the results of which will be published soon. .
Why Vegetables Taste Bitter
Scientists presenting at the 2019 American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions say genes that make some people “super tasters” cause them to eat fewer vegetables.Super tasters inherit two variants of a taste gene called TAS2R38, which makes them find certain foods like cruciferous vegetables exceptionally bitter.The particular variants you’re born with determine how sensitive or not you are to bitter tastes from certain chemicals such as glucosinolates, commonly found in cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.“We’re talking a ruin-your-day level of bitter when they tasted the test compound,” said study author Jennifer L. Smith, Ph.D., R.N., a postdoctoral fellow in cardiovascular science at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine in Lexington, in a press release from her upcoming presentation.Bitter-tasting status did not influence how much salt, fat or sugar the participants ate, showing that those with the variant are not taking in more flavor enhancers to offset the bitter taste of other foods.In the meantime, you can try some cooking and seasoning techniques to tone down the bitterness and bring out the sweetness of cruciferous veggies, so you can reap their cardiovascular and cancer-fighting benefits.Try sweeter verities of lettuce, green beans, zucchini, snap peas, carrots, bell peppers and other healthful vegetables instead.
Hate broccoli and cauliflower? Your microbiome might be partially to
For instance, about 25 percent of the population can't taste propylthiouracil (PROP), a chemical that is similar to the bitter compounds found in cabbage, raw broccoli, coffee, tonic water, and dark beers.Many scientists think that those who can sense bitterness are probably responding to compounds called glucosinolates, present in most cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.Those glucosinolates are responsible for much of the nutritional benefits of those veggies, but they also break down into pungent compounds that can negatively trigger many people's bitter taste receptors.So many different compounds are related to flavor and aroma, not to mention texture (mouth feel), and all of them might contribute to how much we savor or loathe a food.And past studies have provided evidence that saliva plays an important role when it comes to flavor release in foods and hence our perception of enjoyment.Frank and his colleagues recruited 98 pairs of children (between the ages of 6 and 8) and parents and had them chew on a bit of waxed paper to produce saliva for analysis—a task that proved challenging for many.These samples were then exposed to raw cauliflower powder and analyzed with proton-transfer reaction mass spectrometry to measure individual differences in the production of sulfur volatile compounds in real time.Frank et al. also used gas chromatography to identify the primary odor-active volatiles present in both raw and steamed broccoli and cauliflower to see if the cooking process changed those profiles, augmented by a panel of trained experts.In addition, "there was a significant relationship between children and parents in the amount of sulfur produced, which we're supposing is due to similar oral microbiomes," said Frank. .
10 Ways to Make Broccoli Taste Good
Broccoli is our favorite green vegetable because it’s totally packed with nutrients, is easy to prepare and has a nice mild flavor.It’s easy to get bored with broccoli if you just eat it steamed each day, but there are a whole host of ways you can spice it up and make it more flavorful so that you, and even your kids, won’t be able to resist it! .
Why Do Some People Love Broccoli, And Others Hate It?
While the veracity of that statement remains up for debate (considering past favorites reportedly included french fries and pork chops), Obama certainly isn't the first president to declare strong feelings for the cruciferous veggie.The answer might partly come down to genetics, explains John E. Hayes, Ph.D., assistant professor of food science and director of the Sensory Evaluation Center at the Pennsylvania State University.Allylisothiocyanate (AITC) is the compound that gives the vegetable its pungent taste -- it's found in wasabi and garlic, as well, Hayes says, and might be too strong for some people.And dimethyl sulfide is what gives broccoli (and cauliflower and cabbage) that sulfur, rotting-egg smell when cooking, which could turn people off when it comes time for eating.But while genetics and science can help to partially explain why just the thought of broccoli can make some people gag, a big part of it might come down to simple cooking technique, Hayes says.But consider a second chance: He suggests steaming broccoli and being very careful not to overcook it, leaving it slightly al dente. .
Hate vegetables? You might have super-taster genes!
Super-tasters have more taste buds than other people and are super sensitive to the bitter compounds found in some food and drinks, even at low concentrations.Their bitter taste is due to mustard oils that are produced from a naturally occurring chemical called glucosinolate when the vegetables are cut, chewed or cooked.So long as you don’t have an intolerance to blue food colouring, grab some, dip a cotton bud in it and paint the front part of your tongue.A word of caution, if you overdo the blue food colour and end up swallowing a lot, it might turn your bowel motions green.Iodine deficiency in a pregnant woman can cause mental retardation in her offspring, with the most severe form called cretinism.Researchers examining links between super-tasters and mechanisms that regulate body weight have found complex interactions exist between genetic factors related to taste, food habits, energy metabolism and the environment, which then influences BMI. .