Why Some People Can't Stand The Smell Of Bacon

Just because the bacon craze of the early 2000s may have died down, doesn't mean that bacon's status as one of the more revered items in breakfast history has gone away (via Deadspin). You'd be hard-pressed to find a breakfast menu anywhere in the U.S. without bacon on it, and bacon's popularity is so universal that its made its way into everything from donuts to scented candles to bandage designs to condoms. Yes, condoms.

There's a reason so many items feature bacon's distinctive scent: people love its smoky, meaty aroma. And scientific explanations do relate it to the part of our caveman brain that goes on high alert at the prospect of fat and salt, according to ThoughtCo. and Good Housekeeping — that and the Maillard reaction that creates cooked bacon's unique chemical compounds. But despite all that, there are those who hate the smell of bacon. It's hard to fathom a world in which that savory scent makes you want to go crawl under a rock, but for some people, it's too real.

What exactly is going on with bacon smell haters?

First off, these people are really out there, and don't just take our word for it. One Reddit user wrote in r/unpopularopinion: "For some reason when someone cooks bacon, it feels like the quality of the air literally dropped. After a while breathing will feel extremely DRY for some reason, it is so strong that sometimes it is hard for me to even breathe at all." Another, who said they enjoy beef wrote, "I want to like bacon, I like bacon flavored things, but ever since I was a kid the smell of bacon cooking has made me retch to the point of near vomiting." They're on Twitter, too.

Turns out, genetics might be to blame. According to the Washingtonian, citing a study from researchers at Duke University Medical Center "people with two odorant receptor genes (OR7D4) tend to be extra-sensitive to the smell and taste of androstenone, a steroid found in meat from male pigs." Indeed, androstenone is present in human male sweat and urine — and bacon. Additionally, what we like to smell is closely linked to what we grew up eating, according to an expert from the University of Florida. This means that some children, who grow up in families where they don't eat much pork, will later dislike its scent, too.