Although vegetable consumption associates with decreased risk for a variety of diseases, few Americans meet dietary recommendations for vegetable intake. TAS2R38 encodes a taste receptor that confers bitter taste sensing from chemicals found in some vegetables. Common polymorphisms in TAS2R38 lead to coding substitutions that alter receptor function and result in the loss of bitter taste perception. Our study examined whether bitter taste perception TAS2R38 diplotypes associated with vegetable consumption in participants enrolled in either an enhanced or a minimal nutrition counseling intervention. DNA was isolated from the peripheral blood cells of study participants (N = 497) and analyzed for polymorphisms. Vegetable consumption was determined using the Block Fruit and Vegetable screener. We tested for differences in the frequency of vegetable consumption between intervention and genotype groups over time using mixed effects models. Baseline vegetable consumption frequency did not associate with bitter taste diplotypes (p = 0.937), however after six months of the intervention, we observed an interaction between bitter taste diplotypes and time (p = 0.046). Participants in the enhanced intervention increased their vegetable consumption frequency (p = 0.020) and within this intervention group, the bitter non-tasters and intermediate-bitter tasters had the largest increase in vegetable consumption. In contrast, in the minimal intervention group, the bitter tasting participants reported a decrease in vegetable consumption. Bitter-non tasters and intermediate-bitter tasters increased vegetable consumption in either intervention more than those who perceive bitterness. Future precision medicine applications could consider genetic variation in bitter taste perception genes when designing dietary interventions.
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