Why do children dislike vegetables?
Toxins in plants taste bitter to discourage us from eating them - children have probably evolved a stronger aversion to bitter tastes to help them learn.
Asked by: Jake Bogdan, Switzerland
Our evolutionary ancestors lived with lots of toxic plants and we evolved a gene that makes the toxins in these plants taste bitter to discourage us from eating them. Children probably evolved a stronger aversion to bitter tastes because they haven’t yet learned which plants are dangerous. We learn which plants are safe and lose half of our taste receptors by the time we are 20, making vegetables taste less bitter.
Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.