Learn to love vegetables

| Post published on June 1, 2006
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Getting kids to eat their greens can be a problem but new research shows that even kids who turn their noses up at their greens can learn to love them. Scientists from Cancer Research UK have shown that a taste for vegetables is learnt rather than inherited. They studied over 200 pairs of young twins to try and work out if taste preferences are inherited or not. Twin studies are useful because identical twins share all the same genes – so any differences in food preferences must be due to upbringing. The twins were fed foods from four groups: ‘Vegetables’, ‘Fruits’, ‘Desserts’ and ‘Meat and Fish’ and the results showed that the taste for meat and fish is determined to some extent, by the genes, whereas the taste for vegetables, fruit and deserts are more determined by environmental factors. In other words we learn to love these foods, so keep putting the broccoli and peas on their plates and make sure the fruit bowl is full!

Breen FM, Plomin R and Wardle J. 2006. Heritability of food preferences in young children. Physiology and Behaviour. 88 (4-5) 443-447.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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