If you were wondering why you can’t stop eating chocolate or pizza, the answer is hidden in your DNA. A new study shows that our brain genes are the ones responsible for our dietary preferences. This research suggests that some gene variants can affect the way our brain works when we decide what to eat.
The leader of the study is Silvia Berciano, a predoctoral researcher at the Universidad Autonoma De Madrid. She is going to present the findings at the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Session which is held in Chicago on April 22-26. Berciano mentioned that this is the first study that analyzes the way our brain genes affect dietary preferences.
Despite the fact that previous studies showed the involvement of brain genes in eating disorders, this is the first research that focuses on eating behaviors of healthy people. Gene variations are the result of DNA differences that make each individual unique.
To conduct this study, the team of researchers analyzed the genetics of more than 800 women and men. The researchers also questioned the participants about their diet. It was observed that the brain genes have a great impact on the dietary habits and food choices of a person. For instance, individuals who ate more chocolate had a form of oxytocin receptor in their genes.
Scientists observed that obesity-related genes had a role in fiber and vegetable intake. They also discovered that certain brain genes are involved in fat and salt intake. This researcher could help doctors monitor the dietary habits of their patients and give them the correct treatment that can reduce the risks of common diseases.
Berciano mentioned that the study is of great use for a better understanding of eating habits. Moreover, it paves the way to the creation of personalized diets that can help people lose weight faster and more efficiently.
The team of scientists suggested that they want to take the research further. They want to perform the same analysis on people from different ethnicities. This way, they can see if these findings apply to all people or if they only apply to Europeans. Researchers also want to determine if they can identify gene variants associated with food preferences that increase the risk of health problems.
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