According to a new study, eating unhealthy food may not be linked solely to our tastes. Instead, it may have something to do with a person’s genes.
Research on the matter was led by Silvia Berciano, a Tufts University predoctoral researcher in genomics and nutrition. Study results were presented on Saturday, during the Experimental Biology Conference taking place in Chicago.
Genes And Their Mutations
The study team based its finds on data collected from 818 people. These latter were part of the Genetics and Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network study. They were asked to fill in a diet history questionnaire, developed by the National Cancer Institute. Then, the scientists took a look at the participants’ genomes.
They analyzed these across 38 different points which were linked with several behavioral and psychological facts. These latter included addiction, stress, impulsivity, novelty seeking or inconsistent or depression eating habits.
The team found a series of correlations between these dietary habits and the human genes. More exactly, to a specific set called the single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs. These are considered the most common genetic variations.
Out of the 38 tested regions, 5 of them had SNPs that were linked to specific brain receptors. The team also found a statistically significant relation between specific eating habits and such genes. For example, they found the genetic reason behind the fats or salty foods preference. Or for the high fiber or vegetable intake tendencies.
The scientists also found that some oxytocin variants can be linked to a higher chocolate intake and even a larger body mass index and waist circumference.
Silvia Berciano stated that: “The knowledge gained through our study will pave the way to a better understanding of eating behavior […].”
The team is also hoping to facilitate the process of designing “personalized dietary advice”. These could become easier to follows and more amenable, which could also lead to better results. The scientists will be looking to expand their research as they will try to determine a potential link between these genes and a higher risk of developing some health conditions.
They will also be looking to validate this finds across more than one population, as this current study involved mostly Caucasian participants.
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