Saturday, May 14, 2011

Biological Reasons for Why Children Hate Vegetables

Why do children have an aversion to vegetables anyhow?
It is estimated that about eighty percent of chldren do not like vegetables. Some psychologists and nutritionists claim it is because they have not acquired the taste. Parents have poor eating habits and pass it on to the children. Generally parents who do not eat vegetables have children who do not eat vegetables. This may be true in some cases but not in all. I eat vegetables. I love vegetables but my son did not, and I tried to give him that acquired taste. It didn’t work. This theory falls short of a full explanation for why children hate vegetables.

A better explanation can be found in biological studies. Children have an aversion to bitter tastes. They much prefer sweet tastes over bitter tastes, which may be responsible for this aversion. Sensitivity to bitter tastes will vary depending upon the gene variants.

In the study, only the children seemed to have an aversion to bitter tastes while their mothers who were also studied seemed to have tastes, which have developed through cultural and ethnic cuisine. The study found that generally, children tend to grow out of the aversion for bitter taste and their hatred for vegetables.

Is that all there is, just an explanation that children are genetically prone to dislike vegetables and they will grow out of in time? Children are born with over 10,000 taste buds and as time goes by these taste buds diminish. The average adult has about 3,000 tastes buds. What this means is that children will have more robust taste buds. The flavours of vegetables and other foods will be stronger than the flavours that adults taste. Thus accounting for the fact that they don’t like the bitter taste of vegetables. Over time these taste buds diminish and since the flavours are not so strong, these kids who are now grown up can now eat vegetables and actually enjoy them

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