Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Why do children dislike vegetables? © Getty Images

Why do children dislike vegetables?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

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

Advertisement

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.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.

Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

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.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content