Food & Recipes

Here’s Why So Many People Hate Cilantro, According To Science

Can't stand cilantro? It's not your fault.

Cilantro is one of those foods you either love or hate. Some people can’t get enough of the herb, but there’s an unusually large group of people who won’t go near it, claiming that it has a terribly bitter taste, akin to eating soap.

Approximately 4 to 14 percent of the population are averse to the flavor of the herb, as this video from SciShow explains. So why is it that people have such varying opinions of the taste? Does it really taste different to different people?

Well, it turns out science has an explanation, and it sounds like you can thank your genes. Studies have found that cilantro haters contain a shared group of olfactory-receptor genes called OR6A2 that increase your sensitivity to the smell of aldehyde chemicals, which cilantro contains. Not ideal, right?

If you’re one of the lucky ones who can actually enjoy the flavor of cilantro without having to pick it out of all of your tacos, you can thank your parents for that. On the flip side, if the taste of cilantro makes you gag, you might want to switch to another herb like parsley instead. And if anyone tries to blame your cilantro aversion on an unsophisticated palette, you can hold your head up high and let them know that the late great Julia Child also loathed the stuff.

Photo by mindylou2