The Real Reason Some People Hate The Smell Of Bacon

Everybody loves bacon, right? After all, bacon makes everything better, from cheeseburgers to potato chips to tacos, cookies, candies, and even cocktails and beer — and, of course, let's not forget breakfast, which would be a pretty sad meal without its best buddy. Even vegans love bacon, although their attempts to duplicate it in plant-based form have been less than successful to date. If bacon isn't the most popular food on the planet, it has to have cracked the top 5, at least.  

Well, maybe for most people, that is. There are others besides vegans who are disinclined to eat bacon, as their religious beliefs may regard pork products as unclean. There are also, strange as it may seem, quite a few people who find that the smell of bacon actually turns their stomachs. It turns out that there's actually a scientific reason why the scent of pan-fried or oven-baked pork is intolerable to some, and it all has to do with genetics.

The chemical receptors that determine what smells good to us

BestLife relates how a study performed at the Philadelphia-based Monell Chemical Sense Center shows how the way we perceive certain smells is closely linked to our genes. Our noses are packed not just with the kind of yucky stuff that requires gobs of tissues during cold season but also with hundreds of smell receptors. It seems that a single odor molecule may activate several different receptors (there are 400 in all), while certain receptors can be activated by several different odors. If your genetics dictate that you're missing a certain receptor, or perhaps have more than one of the same kind, that will definitely affect the way you feel about certain types of odors.

Yet another study, this one done at Duke University Medical Center, found that 70 percent of us have two copies of a gene linked to the receptor that detects androstenone, an odor-producing substance found not only in pigs but also in human male perspiration (via NCBI). The higher your level of sensitivity, the more likely you are not to be able to tolerate the smell of bacon (or sweaty dudes). Obviously, that only applies at the higher end of the range, since it seems unlikely that only 30 percent of us are eating 100 percent of the bacon, but super-sensitive sniffers with this genetic predisposition may well turn up their snoots at pork products as well as insisting that their menfolk shower twice a day.