Vintage | Food

Your Black Licorice Preference Depends On Your Genes

Is there a more polarizing flavor on the planet than black licorice?

You either love it, or you hate it. Generally, your preference on black licorice depends on your age. Typically people who are currently 60+ seem to really enjoy black licorice, while the younger generations are more against it.

Most people attribute it to your tastes getting older, but did you know it actually has to do with science?

"People either love it or hate it and, as far as I can tell, it’s not a learned like or dislike,” says Marcia Pelchat, an associate member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, a nonprofit center, which researches taste and smell. I don’t know a specific gene that is associated with liking and disliking licorice. [But] it does seem to be something that people are born with.”

Livestrong

So what is it that makes it genetic?

As with most things, there are lot of genes that play into how we perceive taste. There are a few different things in licorice that could end up being the root cause of our dislike.

Glycyrrhizin: a natural sweetener in licorice root, which can taste like saccahrin (the same sweetener found in Sween 'n' Low)

Anethole: an aromatic that appears in anise and fennel which plays on your sense of smell

“What this suggests to me is maybe liking and disliking licorice is related to liking and disliking saccharin,” Pelchat says.

So if you don't like black licorice, it's just science-based. Not you being picky like your mom or grandmother might tell you!

Mommyish

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