Posted on Mar 08, 2018, 9 p.m.
Snack choices could be linked to genetics according to a new family health study from the researchers at the University of Guelph which investigated genetic variants in taste receptors associated with fat, bitter, and sweet tastes and found that close to 80% carried at least one of these genotypes predisposing to poor snacking habits, as published in the journal Nutrients.
Investigation of whether genetic variants in taste receptors associated with fat taste sensitivity, aversion to bitter green leafy vegetable, and sweet preference influence snack choice found that close to 80% of the participants involved in the study carried at least one of the potential at risk genotypes that may have predisposed them to poor snacking habits.
People in general are eating more snacks now than in the past, this study is showing that up to one third of diets are made up of snacks, looking at how genetics can be related to snacking behaviour is important to get a better understanding of the growing obesity epidemic. This study looking at the connections of genes and 3 at risk taste receptors linked to snacking may help people understand how taste is involved and design diets around better nutritional choices.
Testing participants saliva to determine their genetic taste profile found that participants with a sweet tooth having the gene related to sweet taste preference ate snacks with a significant amount of more calories from sugar, mostly in evenings. Participants with genetic variants related to fat taste sensitivity consumed snacks containing higher energy density, these individuals may have low oral sensitivity to fat consuming more fatty foods without sensing it, eating foods such as cookies. Participants with the genetic variant related to avoiding bitter vegetables also consumed high energy density snacks, replacing healthy vegetables with unhealthy snacks.
This study is a first in an important emerging area of nutritional research, if a solid link can be established between taste and genetics tests can be developed to help people to determine which genetic variants they have, which could be useful for parents to find out what their children have to design a tailored diet better suited to help avoid obesity at a young age.
Materials provided by University of Guelph.
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Elie Chamoun, Joy Hutchinson, Owen Krystia, Julia Mirotta, David Mutch, Andrea Buchholz, Alison Duncan, Gerarda Darlington, Jess Haines, David Ma. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Taste Receptor Genes Are Associated with Snacking Patterns in the Guelph Family Health Study: A Pilot Study. Nutrients, 2018; 10 (2): 153 DOI: 10.3390/nu10020153