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Genetics is Linked to the Food People Pick to Eat

Researchers find that the Genetics links behind food intake, obesity, and diabetes could lead to improved prevention and treatment. The study examined how Genetics factors affect a person’s food choices and consumption, researchers have identified more than two dozen regions of sequences that may affect individuals’ food intake. The study was published in

Chloé Sarnowski, who was a biostatistician at Boston University while conducting the study and is now a faculty associate at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston said that the average daily intake of nutrients and foods, a major contributor of obesity, is partly influenced by our Genetics. Researchers say the brain is influenced by various signals that affect people’s eating behaviours and regulate their bodies’ energy balance. Those signals, for example, control appetite and energy expenditure in response to blood levels of key metabolic hormones and nutrients.

Genetics variation in these signals can therefore lead to extreme hunger—and obesity.The lead author of the study said that despite the high correlation between and] our dietary choices, a limited number of studies have integrated information about different nutrients or foods. For the study, Sarnowski and collaborators analyzed the genes and examined the food consumption of 282,271 participants of European ancestry from the UK Biobank and the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium.

From that data, the team identified 26 Genetics regions associated with an increased preference for foods containing more fat, protein, or carbohydrate. In the brain, those genes influence specialized areas of brain cells, distributed across the central nervous system, that are responsive to proteins, fats, or carbohydrates. The discovery of these variants could be used in future research to determine whether diet composition is causally related to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other diseases. The findings underscore why food consumption behaviour differs among individuals.

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