Over the past decade, the American craft beer movement has skewed hoppier and hoppier. IPAs, double IPAs and triple IPAs crowd beer store shelves. But if you’re someone who has never been able to get on board with the influx of bitter beer, the issue might actually be genetic.
According to NPR, for years scientists have been aware that about a quarter of the population has a taste receptor gene (known as TAS2R38) that makes them more sensitive to bitter foods. What happens when you eat bitter food is that compounds in your meal bind to your taste receptors, and that particular receptor creates a very strong bond and very bitter flavors as a result. A recent study set out to understand to what extent this led people to make food choices.
What researchers discovered was that people who didn’t have TAS2R38 consumed significantly more bitter foods. In the case of vegetables for example, they ate 200 more servings a year. On the other hand, people who do have the receptor avoided green vegetables entirely. After some bad experiences with kale or brussels sprouts, they wrote off the entire class of food.