It is that time of year once more, when it is traditional to eat the vegetable that many of us fear the most. But why is it hated?

For most, Christmas is about family, presents and food. But every year millions of people join the brussel sprouts debate: Do you love them or loathe them?

But before you are labelled a fussy eater by sprout lovers, there is a science behind why some of us cannot stand the baby cabbages.

Around half of the population have a gene that affects their taste buds, making foods such as sprouts taste extremely bitter.

“Sprouts contain a molecule very close to phenylthiocarbamide and this particular molecule tastes bitter, but only to the people who have the gene to taste it,” explained Beverley Lawe, Nutritionist and Food Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University.

The vegetable also contains sulphur compounds which release unpleasant smells when cooked, particularly when over cooked.

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