Your Kid Isn’t A Picky Jerk – You Can Blame It On Genetics

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shutterstock_118908841A new study suggest your kid isn’t just a picky eater – he’s genetically predisposed to hate your cooking. Just kidding. He’s not genetically predisposed to hate your cooking, but he may be genetically predisposed to avoid trying new things. Genetics play a role in how picky a child is when it comes to eating.

The researchers looked at 66 pairs of twins, aged 4 to 7, and found that genes were responsible for 72 percent of the variation kids’ tendency to avoid new foods. The rest of the variation was influenced by household and family factors.

Previous studies found that genes explained 78 of the variation [sic] in aversion to trying new foods in children aged 8 to 11 and 69 percent of the variation in adults. This suggests that the effect of genes remains relatively constant across all ages.

I’m Greek and Italian and was raised to eat whatever was put in front of me. We weren’t really allowed to say “Hey mom – I don’t like this Moussaka. Can I have bologna instead?”  I always assumed that the fact that I’m not a picky eater was a cultural thing. I’ve always been used to different flavors and spices and try to expose my son to as much as I can. The kid likes capers. And olives. And mushrooms. I always thought it was because I was so great as exposing him to new flavors. Apparently – not so much.

Another interesting finding in the study was that in “families with heavier parents, children were overweight only if they avoided trying new foods.” This obviously proves that parents should be providing kids with opportunities to try new things. I know all children are different – but with my toddler, one week he may hate something and the next week he’ll love it.

“To increase children’s acceptance of new foods, the researchers said that parents can serve as role models and provide repeated opportunities for their children to try new foods. This might include offering several new foods and letting children decide which ones they want to try.”

(photo: Angela Waye/



  1. EmmaFromÉire

    March 24, 2013 at 11:23 am

    This isn’t a new thing- taste receptors also play a major role. For example- the tas2r38 gene is the gene for bitter taste receptors- i have both alleles, meaning i have quite a profound reaction to bitter foods like cabbage or brussel sprouts, but my brother has both non-taster alleles, he’d eat sprouts until the cows come home and then he’d cook some for the cows too.

    Bottom line, don’t automatically assume people are being awkward, some of us genuinely cannot stomach some food!

  2. Samsam

    March 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Why do so many mommyish headlines include name calling? I just find it ironic that you post so many articles referring to how kids and teenagers are disrespectful. Maybe by leading positive examples, we will eventually have more respectful kids. I see so many households where swearing and name calling produces rude teenagers. In homes where the reinforcement is positive and encouraging and there is never berating or name-calling, the kids are much more pleasant to be around and show much more empathy. I know this isn’t intended for children to read, but whenever I see name calling referring to kids, I have to wonder why we are surprised that society has become so rude.

    • Kelly

      March 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

      In many homes it’s so common for parents to call their children names, they don’t even realize it’s wrong. That’s why it leaks into things like articles on mommyish. When you call your kid a jerk or asshole regularly, you don’t even pause to call him a jerk to other adults when speaking about him.

    • Greer Phillips

      March 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Calling your kid a jerk or an asshole is a thing that regular people do??? News to me. I don’t know anyone who does that.

  3. suzane carter

    May 23, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    This is simply not a brand new thing- style receptors furthermore play a serious position. Pertaining to example- your tas2r38 gene will be the gene with regard to nasty style receptors- we have both equally alleles, significance we have a serious outstanding a reaction to nasty ingredients just like cabbage or even Brussels plants sprouting up, although my cousin possesses both equally non-taster alleles, he previously take in plants sprouting up till the cows return after which he previously prepare food some to the cows as well.

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