Why do we like some food and dislike others? Scientists believe that there are many reasons for our different tastes.
These causes range from genetics to psychology, as well as our evolutionary biology.
Let’s talk about some of these reasons.
It’s All In Your Genes
Taste and fragrance are separate issues and our DNA is the real culprit. Our genetic code helps determine how our brain responds to sensory messages.
This means that each of us will react differently to the taste of food. In 2004, scientists at the University of California discovered that our alpha receptors were located in parts of our genome where genetic mutations were more common than normal.
These variations may lead to different attitudes in individuals and explain why everyone likes or dislikes the same food.
Reactions To Flavors In The Old Days
Our sense of taste was life-saving. The first humans on this earth had to devise a way to help them choose the best food and avoid bad.
A good example of this is our ability to recognize the bitter taste. Scientists say it was developed as a defense against potentially harmful toxins in plants.
At the same time, the sweet taste allows us to find easily available sources of glucose (and energy) from plants. Early ‘sugar overdose’ associated with survival, because in those days food was not as readily available as it is today.
“That’s why most people don’t like sour taste,” says Nicholas, a flavor specialist at the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s National Science Agency.
It May Have Been Decided Before You Were Born
Our brains determine our understanding of taste. Psychologists say that most of us learn to like or dislike food. This process begins when we are in the womb.
A 2,000-year-old French study found that a baby begins to understand the tastes in the mother’s womb. For example, babies whose mothers eat garlic will like the scent more than babies who have not been introduced to them in their mother’s womb.
“We’ll eat everything until we’re two years old,” says Elizabeth Phelps, a psychologist at Arizona State University. “Then we create a phobia about new foods,” says Phelps.
And this dislike can last a lifetime and it can also be due to an attachment. Any food that has ever made you sick, you may not want to see it for the rest of your life.
Your Gender Also Determines It
Our gender politics also plays a role in how we like to eat.
In 2015, researchers at the University of Manitoba in Canada found that people associate healthy eating with femininity and unhealthy eating with masculinity.
Culture and the environment also play an important role in determining what we eat and what we want to eat, including looking at gender from a particular angle.
But Don’t Worry … There Are Ways To Change Your Taste
After saying all this, people may start hating what they like or start liking something they hate first.
So how does that change? The more variety of foods you are introduced to, the easier it is for you to change your eating habits.
It is also helpful to seduce your mind and attract you to something, for example, to sweeten vegetables or to change the color of a food or drink.
A taste study in 1980 showed that people who were blindfolded had difficulty recognizing the taste of a drink, but when they could see it, they recognized it easily.
And when a lemon-flavored drink turned orange, more than 50 percent thought it tasted orange, but no one called it orange when it was green.