Genetics Could Influence Our Eating Behavior: New Research Reveals

24 April 2017, 6:55 am EDT By Andrew Norman Tech Times
A study revealed that the eating behavior of a person largely depends on genetic factors. This research may lead scientists to develop diets tailored to a specific person.  ( Justin Sullivan | Getty Images )

Eating habits vary in individuals and each person favors some foods over others. However, many people indulge in junk food even though they are aware of its harmful effects on the body.

According to scientists, this pattern may not be because of poor decision, but caused by certain genetic factors.

A new research revealed that genetics play an important part in determining what a person's overall eating habit will be. This may be why some people have problems maintaining a proper diet, while others do not.

How Was The Study Conducted?

Scientists from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid conducted the study to observe the link between food habits and genetics in humans. The results of the study will be presented at the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions at the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, which is scheduled to take place between April 22 and April 26.

For the purpose of the study, the scientists analyzed the genetics of 818 healthy men and women with European backgrounds. The researchers also recorded information about each of their dietary habits using questionnaires.

Link Between Genes And Food Habits?

The researchers found that certain genes they studied played a vital role in deciding what the dietary choices of an individual would be. For example, certain forms of the oxytocin genes were seen to affect the chocolate consumption and waist size of a person. An obesity-related gene, if present in the body, dictated the amount of vegetables and fiber the person would consume.

"This is because our food preferences and ability to work toward goals or follow plans affect what we eat and our ability to stick with diet changes. Ours is the first study describing how brain genes affect food intake and dietary preferences in a group of healthy people," explained Silvia Berciano who is a pre-doctoral fellow at the Madrid University.

The researchers' findings are important and may lead to the development of better dietary control systems in the future. Scientists claim that this research may even pave the way for personalized diets for each individual, which would suit their genetic preferences. These measures would especially be helpful to fight obesity.

The Problem Of Obesity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 12.7 million children and young adults between the age of 2 and 19 in the United States are obese. CDC also points out that nearly 36.5 percent of American adults are obese.

Obesity and weight-related issues are quite rampant in the country, which has led to the increase of coronary diseases and diabetes. Such studies may go a long way in curbing obesity once and for all.

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