A new study discovered why people have a hard time cutting unhealthy foods from their diets. The results suggest that genes might be influencing our choice of food by inducing in the brain certain dietary preferences. Thus, this might help people in choosing the perfect diets for them, which they would also enjoy.
Our genes explain why we cannot give up unhealthy foods
They analyzed the human genome and discovered that certain genes influenced the food preferences of a person. For instance, a certain variant of the oxytocin receptor gene determines a predilection for eating chocolate, as well as a larger waist. Also, the gene linked to obesity is related to vegetable consumption and the intake of fiber.
Silvia Berciano, one of the researchers and a professor at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain, says that this research can explain why some people are not able to give up certain foods, despite knowing how bad they are for them. This is the first study to link brain genes and food choices.
For the study, the researchers looked at 818 people of European descent and analyzed their genes. These are the result of the variation of the DNA and are specific to every individual, so there cannot be two people with an identical genome. Then, the participants had to take some surveys which questioned them on their food preferences and choice of diet.
Using the research to minimize disease risk
Thus, they discovered that genes might determine a person to like chocolate and sweets, others might make her eat food rich in fiber. Even the intake of fat or salt is determined by a genetic sequence in the DNA.
Despite making smart food choices, the research is applicable in other fields, too. The risk for certain diseases – such as diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease – can be minimized by adopting ideal diets and the suitable methods of treatment.
“The knowledge gained through our study will pave the way to better understanding of eating behavior and facilitate the design of personalized dietary advice that will be more amenable to the individual, resulting in better compliance and more successful outcomes.”
This research will be presented at the annual conference organized during the Experimental Biology event, which takes place between April 22nd and 26th.
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