Family environment, not heredity, accounts for family resemblances in food preferences and attitudes: a twin study

Appetite. 1987 Apr;8(2):125-34. doi: 10.1016/s0195-6663(87)80005-3.


Monozygotic and same-sex dizygotic twin pairs reported on their food preferences, the variety of foods of the same general category (e.g. types of soup) in their diet, and their concern about contact of their food with disgusting or other unacceptable substances (contamination sensitivity). Although there was substantial resemblance between siblings for many of these items, there was no clear evidence for a heritable component on any item. The only case for which there was an interpretable and significantly greater resemblance among monozygotic than among dizygotic twins (out of 23 questions) was preferred degree of hotness resulting from chili pepper in foods. These results confirm the prediction that in omnivorous animals, such as humans, genetic predispositions will be minimal with respect to food. The modest sibling resemblances on a number of measures are primarily attributable to a shared environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Food Contamination
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste / physiology
  • Twins*
  • Twins, Dizygotic*
  • Twins, Monozygotic*