Rats avoid a diet that is deficient in one or more essential amino acids (EAAs). This phenomenon is thought to involve the development of a "learned aversion" for the sensory properties or spatial placement associated with the deficient diet. The dietary self-selection technique has been widely used to show this avoidance of the deficient diet. Because avoidance does not necessarily imply taste aversion, we used the Taste Reactivity Test initially created by Grill and Norgren (1978) to analyze the affective reactivity pattern of rats that ingested a threonine-deficient diet. The results showed that there was an increase in the aversive responses when ingesting the threonine-deficient (Thr-Dev) diet, compared to a control diet, without changes in the hedonic responses. The aversive reactions were mainly gaping, and to a lesser extent chin rubbing and head shaking. This asymmetrical shift in the Thr-Dev diet palatability is consistent with a two-dimensional hypothesis of palatability, indicating that the aversive palatability of the deficient diet was increased while the positive palatability did not change. Further evidence indicates that rats do not develop a normal behavioral satiety sequence after ingesting the threonine-deficient diet. These results indicate that a true aversion is formed to the taste of a diet that is deficient in an essential amino acid.