Monday, September 25, 2023

Your genes can influence how much fruit, fish or salt you eat -Dlight News

Whether you crave savory dishes or a fruit snack, your genes can influence the food choices you make. Gaining a better understanding of how this varies from person to person could one day lead to personalized eating plans that help people make nutritional choices based on their genetic preferences.

“Dietary intake is influenced by so many other factors, such as socioeconomic status, culture, and disease diagnoses, that I was intrigued to separate the direct genetic component from the environmental or indirect genetic components,” he says. Joanna Cole at the University of Colorado.

Cole and his colleagues have previously identified 814 regions in the human genome. which are associated with various aspects of a person’s dietary intake, including the amount of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish they eat.

The team wanted to better understand whether these regions directly or indirectly influence a person’s food choices. “For example, genes that affect diabetes risk may also be associated with dietary intake due to changes in disease management, such as eating less sugar, and not because the gene directly influences someone’s eating behavior,” says Cole.

The researchers carried out the so-called whole-phenomenon association study for the 814 regions. This involves taking a single genetic variant and scanning it for certain traits, such as taste preferences, eating habits, and health conditions. – to see if there is an association. Each region was scanned for more than 4,000 traits, using data from around 500,000 UK Biobank study participants.

From this, the researchers identified 481 regions in the genome that appear to directly affect dietary intake through taste perceptions and preferences. The work was presented at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston, Massachusetts. Some of the foods and drinks most affected by these genes include salt, water, fish, alcohol, and fruit.

“Consumers report that taste is the main driver of food choice, therefore identifying how different people experience different tastes may be the key to personalized nutrition to enhance healthy eating,” says Cole.

“I am now focusing on identifying these sensory genes involved in dietary intake and understanding how different people with different genetic versions of these taste and smell receptors have different activation of pleasure and reward in the brain. The goal is to make eating healthier easier for different people and I think taste is key.”

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