Why Do Some Foods Hate Us?

CJMY. Camille Gaubert’s column airs daily in the program “C Jamie”, presented by Jamie Gourmaud, Monday through Friday at 5pm on France 5.

Cilantro splits: Some say it’s fresh and lemony, while others taste it earthy or soapy. This should come as no surprise: Coriander contains molecules called aldehydes, used specifically in cosmetics and perfumes for their soapy smell! But not all of us are equally sensitive to the smell of these molecules. In 2012, a study published in the journal Taste Identified the olfactory receptor stimulated by aldehydes in coriander. People in whom this receptor is particularly active are more likely to smell this unpleasant taste of soap! However, according to researchers, this genetic component affects only 10% of your taste for cilantro. The rest is exclusively cultural. Another 2012 study showed that 17% of Europeans do not like cilantro, compared to only 3% of people in the Middle East who use it more in their kitchens.

Disgust: a feeling that protects us

Food preferences during pregnancy are influenced by the diet of the mother. According to a 2019 study, genetics also affects our ability to feel bitterness. People in whom the invasive gene is particularly active may find certain vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts very bitter, but dark chocolate or coffee as well.

Hate is an innate emotion that has protected us for thousands of years. In 2021, researchers studied the Shuars, an indigenous people of Ecuador whose lifestyle is reminiscent of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. As a result, the people who felt the most disgust were less affected by the infection! And shoeers who lived hygienically, on concrete floors and with better access to clean water, were more likely to feel disgusted by certain foods and dirt. So hatred also develops with our lifestyle and our cultural exposure.

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About the Author: Abbott Hopkins

Analyst. Amateur problem solver. Wannabe internet expert. Coffee geek. Tv guru. Award-winning communicator. Food nerd.

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