A Meaty Inheritance

Trying to give up red meat and just can’t? Or do you have a hankering for seafood that leads you automatically to the oyster bar? Well, the hankering might be in your genes. Research suggests the taste for meat and fish is inherited, while the taste for vegetables is more of an acquired taste, depending on what is offered by parents. Cancer Research UK scientists studied the food preferences of more than 200 pairs of twins and found that the “heritability factor” is stronger with high protein foods than any other kind.


According to the study, identical twins share all their genes and so comparing their food preferences with those of non-identical twins (who share only about half their genes) highlights the difference between what is inherited and what is influenced by environment.The report published in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior suggests that while heredity decides whether children like meat and fish, it is the environment that seems to be most influential when it comes to vegetables.

So if your grandfather loved fish or chicken, your kids probably will. But when it comes to fruit or vegetables, you’ll have to work at the PR. Now we know why kids instinctively reach out for the burger, but not for the broccoli! 

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