We asked nutritionists why the reality star—and others—might have an aversion to these foods.

Bella Gerard
October 31, 2017

Of the three Kardashian sisters, we hear a lot about Kourtney's eating habits (the mom of three has said she avoids gluten, dairy, and sugar). But it was Kim's food preferences that dominated the conversation on a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

"These are the things I hate in life: mustard, cilantro, and blue cheese," Kim says in the episode that aired on Sunday night. Mom Kris Jenner's hilarious response: "Who hates blue cheese? Nobody."

It turns out, though, that a lot of people do dislike one of Kim's most-hated foods. "There is actually a genetic disposition for not liking cilantro," says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, a nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet ($16; amazon.com). "For some people, it even tastes like soap, and so they prefer to avoid it." Kim isn't alone in being anti-cilantro: Barefoot Contessa host Ina Garten also recently admitted to not liking the herb.

The way cilantro smells may have something to do with this, according to Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RDN, author of Eat Clean Stay Lean ($22; amazon.com). "When something like cilantro is 'new' for the first time, the brain searches for familiar aromas," she explains to Health. "Soap and hand lotion tend to be something aromatically similar to cilantro, and we already have a natural and learned aversion to their taste, so may be put-off from cilantro based on this."

Certain people will never come around to cilantro. But since it boasts some serious health benefits, including aiding digestion and possibly even making meals safer (the essential oils may protect against certain types of bacteria, according to a 2011 Portuguese study), Gans recommends trying the leafy herb in different kinds of dishes to see if your palate adjusts.

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While Kim's hatred for cilantro could have a genetic explanation, not liking mustard and blue cheese likely has more to do with personal preferences about taste and texture, says Bazilian. "If someone doesn't like mustard, it’s probably related to the 'strong' smell and taste, or simply unfamiliarity and not commonly using or having acquired a 'taste' for it," she explains, adding that some people with aversions to spicy foods also find mustard unappealing.

Blue cheese is another common food aversion, says Bazilian, in part due to the veins of blue mold that are laced through the creamy crumbles (an important part of the manufacturing process). "Many of us learn that mold is bad and to avoid it," she says. The texture of blue cheese is also unpleasant to some people, since it has a "fuzziness" that's different than certain other types of cheese, she adds.

Luckily for Kim, her food aversions "aren't an issue," says Gans. "I'd be more concerned if [Kim] swore off fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet can be achieved without any of these three foods."