Categories: Health & Fitness

Researchers identify genes that directly influence what we eat

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Is what we eat dictated by our genes? According to a study, nearly 500 genes seem to directly influence the foods we eat. Results that represent an important step towards the use of genetics to develop nutrition strategies to improve health.

“Some genes we have identified are linked to sensory pathways, including taste, smell and texture, and may also increase the reward response in the brain,” said Joanne Cole, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Before completing: “Because some of these genes may have clear pathways for influencing whether someone likes a food or not, they could potentially be used to create sensory genetic profiles to refine a person’s dietary recommendations based on the foods they like to eat.

200 genes linked to eating habits

In detail, this study highlighted the presence of approximately 300 genes directly associated with the consumption of specific foods and nearly 200 other genes linked to eating habits grouping together various foods, for example overall fish consumption or fruit consumption.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers used data from 500,000 people to carry out a large study. The latter has made it possible to identify the genes that are more strongly associated with diet than with any other health factor or lifestyle. “The foods we choose to eat are largely influenced by environmental factors such as our culture, socio-economic status and food accessibility,” said Joanne Cole. And to continue: “Because genetics plays a much smaller role in influencing food intake than any environmental factors, we need to study hundreds of thousands of individuals to detect genetic influences among environmental factors. The data needed to do this was not available until recently.”

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