Why do we hate Brussels sprouts so much? The real scientific reason

If you’re dreading being faced with a side-serving of sprouts this Christmas Day, you’re not alone – and you may have good reason.

Why do we hate Brussels sprouts?

Dr Adam Cunliffe, nutritional scientist and associate lecturer at the London South Bank University, explained that people disliking certain foods is "nearly always due to some kind of negative event which is connected to that food."

He told Cosmopolitan: "We're not actually born liking very much except our mother’s milk and sweet tastes, so we acquire tastes over time.

This means that if there was even a slightly negative experience when you first tasted a sprout you will having a dislike to them later on – possibly for years.

Dr Cunliffe added: "A lot of people, by the time they reach adulthood, haven’t learned to like a lot of what falls into the category of bitter foods – which Brussels sprouts do.

“We’re born to reject bitter foods because for every one potential foodstuff in nature which is bitter and good for us, there are probably 50 which are poisonous."

So in some ways, this common distaste for bitter foods is a protective mechanism. The downside, however, is the fact that some bitter foods we can eat are of extremely high nutritional value, but many people are put off eating them because of their bitter nature.

It might also have something to do with the smell of sprouts – thanks to their “pungent odour”.

Meanwhile if you are wondering what is the best way to cook sprouts, check out our guide to cooking them.

Or you can check out everything you need to know about coffee chain Costa’s Christmas drinks.

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