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Hate Trying New Foods? Blame Your Genes

If you know anyone who has a fear of new foods — food neophobia — it might not be their attitude, it might actually be their genes.

In a recent study at University College of London, scientists determined that almost 80 percent of children's tendency to dislike unfamiliar foods was inherited. Dr. Lucy J. Cooke stated:

"Parents can be reassured that their child's reluctance to try new foods is not simply the result of poor parental feeding practices, but it is partly in the genes."

The study used twins as subjects in order to separate the effects of genes and environments — identical twins share 100 percent of their genes, fraternal twins share about 50 percent, while both share the same environment.

Once the results were in, they discovered that the identical twins were more likely to share food neophobias than the fraternal twins. Simple translation: identical twins have the same phobias, while fraternal twins have different ones, proving that food neophobias are related to genes.

However, just because it is in someone's genes, doesn't mean they can't overcome it. Research has also shown that the more frequently children are offered a particular food, the more likely they are to enjoy it.

So start offering your little ones brussel sprouts everyday and who knows, they might start liking them eventually.

Source: CNN

Join The Conversation
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
I'm so picky and I did always get special meals when I was growing up (I was an only child, so it wasn't too bad). My mom grew up trying all sorts of different foods but my dad is super-picky. I think that the genetics thing is true.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
interesting! my mom used the same tactics on my brother and i growing up but he'd eat everything she made and i'd insist on special meals.
Food Food 9 years
laureg22 - start off with rolls that have no raw fish in them. Stuff with crab, shrimp tempura, bbq eel etc. A lot of folks can't mentally handle that it's raw, so if you start that way it might help. it worked for my dad, so hopefully it'll work for you!
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
anyone have advice on how to make a husband try sushi???
jhuck jhuck 9 years
I ate garbage while I was growing up. Now my roomate is a healthy eater, and I get scared to try new veggies and other foods. It really scares me when she tries to make new things while casually throwing in whatever she wants calling it an experiement. She usually follows that up with "I don't know how this will turn out so if it's not good I'll make something else".
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Very nice post, Allytta, I think that's how the general population is w/ food. :)
Allytta Allytta 9 years
i remember perfectly how stupid i was about food as a child. my dad was working for import company and one time they got this huge amount of shrimp!!! i was like 5-6 old and i refused to try it. it was caned... so we had it for like 2 weeks. the last day i tried it after crying about it and i loved it, but it was too late... the supply was gone - parents love shrimo :) i still can't forgive myself... the same with mushrooms. i started liking them after puberty. now i can't live without them. i'm still reluctant to trying new food like mexican, indian and such as... i'm european and gonna stay that way. i can try a bite from a friends plate... but would never buys something new without trying it first.
tuscanstellina tuscanstellina 9 years
I don't know about hubby and i were both raised where we tried everything and aren't picky as adults. Our daughter who is 5 will try anything at least once, but my 8 year old son won't eat anything that isn't dry, crunchy and full of carbs! He has been a nightmare with eating since he was a baby, and he definitely doesn't get it from us.
mollywog mollywog 9 years
I was always a very picky eater. I've gotten a lot better about it as I've gotten older, but I still won't eat some things. I've noticed that I'm much more willing to try something new if someone who's taste I trust is eating it and lets me try a bite, or if it's in a buffet type setting. Now I eat a lot of things that would've thrown my younger self into hysterics... jellyfish noodles, some organ meats, sashimi and even silly things like omelets and pizza.
Brians-Girl Brians-Girl 9 years
i was major major picky when i was younger.. i still am a little bit.. but this guy that im seein now.. well he likes ALOT more then i do.. and he gets me to try alot of new things.. and i have come to learn..that well..i should try more! cuz there is alot out there that i SO DO LIKE! haha.. like sea food... Mmmmmm :)
gruaig_rua gruaig_rua 9 years
I'm terrible at trying new foods. There are so many things I won't eat. I really wish I were more adventurous but just the thoughts of eating some things can make my stomach turn :( Both my parents eat a wide variety of foods, especially my mother. She will pick up a menu in a restaurant, read through it to find something she has never tried before, and often never heard of before, and order that!
sumnboutme sumnboutme 9 years
hmmm...i have my doubts about that study too since in my family i'm the most adventurous followed by my youngest dad only eats filipino food, and one other brother only eats american and mexican food...
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
I was soooo picky when I was a kid- mostly because my mom was picky too and we only had a handful of meals that we ate for dinner. I used to lie to people and say that I didn't like certain foods when really I'd never had them before, I just didn't want to try them. I don't know when it kicked in, but eventually I started trying stuff and got way better. As a result, though, I never had things like Chinese food, or even Mexican food, until I was in college. So I guess you can overcome that sort of stuff because now I'm a lot more open to trying everything. It just seems like it's more about the way you were raised.
misslarue misslarue 9 years
I am very leery of trying new things. My husband loooooves Menudo but I can't bring myself to even take a tiny taste of it.
cageyme cageyme 9 years
My family had a "3 bites" rule. If you were still hungry after that you could make yourself a peanut butter sandwich or go hungry. The only time there was an actual, open rebellion against something my mother made was the time she made borscht. There was something about a cold, purple soup that made all of us kids draw the line. Of course, I love borscht now.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
The rules in my house growing up were *you try everything at least once *you eat what you take, and if our "eyes were bigger than our stomachs" my mom would wrap our plates up and we had to eat it for lunch the next day. I grew up in a household where "strange" food was the norm. My mom is Norwegian so we ate alot of fish, and my dad was a hunter so we ate alot of wild game. We also raised our own chickens/pigs/cows/rabbits for food, and we didnt waste anything on them. I enjoyed the "nasty bits"!
lexichloe lexichloe 9 years
Hmmm, I have my doubts about that study.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Interesting. I would never have considered that it's in the genes. My parents are always up for something new while my husband's parents think Chinese is pretty much as out there as they're going to get. But my husband will try most things - except sushi!
partysugar partysugar 9 years
Interesting, I wonder how true this study is.
i-am-elle i-am-elle 9 years
I love trying new foods & I love making people try them too haha.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Really? I thought it was because parents never made their kdis try new foods, or didn't introduce them to new crusine. My parents MADE me try everything! If I didn't liek it, I didn't have to eat it but at elats I knew. And to this day I try EVERYTHIGN without a second doubt. My boyfriend , on the other hand, was never really introduced to a wide varity of food and his mom never made him try new meals. So he sticks his nose up at things like sushi (whihc sucks cuz I LOVE it!!!)...
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