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Taste of Foods Specialized in Our Genes – Neuroscience News

Summary: Researchers have identified more than 400 different genes linked to people’s appetite for different foods including avocados, chili peppers, oily fish, and more.

source: University of Edinburgh

A new study reveals that the reasons people like certain foods and turn their noses at others have more to do than their cultures or even their taste buds… their genes play an important role, too.

Researchers have identified hundreds of genetic variants – differences in people’s genetic makeup – associated with their desire for certain foods, including those linked to anise, avocado, chili, steak, oily fish and many more.

In the largest genetic study of food cravings, scientists from the University of Edinburgh and Humane Technopol in Milan studied more than 150,000 people with fondness for 137 different foods and drinks.

They found 401 genetic variants that influenced the foods participants liked. Many of these variables affected more than one trait of food liking and some only affected one particular food.

For example, some genetic variants were associated with enjoyment of salmon only, while other groups of variants increased liking of oily fish or all fish in general.

The team used questionnaires and genetic analysis to develop a so-called ‘food map’ – showing how participants’ appreciation of specific food groups and flavors is affected by similar genetic variants.

The map reveals three main groups of foods that share a similar genetic component.

The first group consists of high-calorie, highly palatable foods such as meat, dairy, and sweets. Another group consists of strong-tasting foods known as “earned,” including alcohol and pungent vegetables; A third group contains low-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables.

health features

The researchers discovered that the three food groups also share genes known to be associated with distinct health traits.

For example, highly delicacies are affected by the same genetic variants that are also linked to obesity and low levels of physical activity.

Greater interest in fruits and vegetables is influenced by the same variables associated with higher levels of physical activity. A greater admiration for genetically “learned” tastes is associated with a healthy cholesterol profile and higher physical activity, but also a greater likelihood of smoking and alcohol intake.

However, the team was surprised to find genetic differences between liking subgroups of foods within the same category. For example, they predicted that genetic variants related to liking vegetables would be consistent across all types of vegetables, meaning that people who liked one vegetable liked all of them.

Instead, they found a weak relationship between genes associated with cooked and salad vegetables and genes associated with stronger-tasting vegetables such as spinach and asparagus.

brain patterns

Finally, the team found little association between genes associated with high-calorie foods and the other two groups, suggesting that there are independent biological processes behind the craving for highly delicious foods.

MRI scans found an association between the part of the brain involved in processing pleasure and genetic variation associated with highly palatable foods, while low-calorie foods and foods with strong taste were associated with brain regions associated with decision-making.

Experts say that by better understanding what drives people’s food choices, their research could help develop healthier and more acceptable food products, improve nutritional interventions, and potentially lead to drugs that help obese people lose weight.

This indicates a combination of spicy dishes and spices
Researchers have identified hundreds of genetic variants – differences in people’s genetic makeup – associated with their desire for certain foods, including those linked to anise, avocado, chili, steak, oily fish and many more. The image is in the public domain

The search was published in Nature Communications.

“This is a great example of applying complex statistical methods to large genetic data sets in order to reveal new biology, and in this case the fundamental foundation of what we like to eat and how this is hierarchically organized, from individual items to large food groups,” says Professor Jim Wilson.

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“One of the important messages from this paper is that while taste receptors and therefore taste are important in deciding which foods you like, what happens in your brain is actually driving what we observe,” says Dr. Nicola Pirasto.

“Another important note is that the main division of preferences is not between salty and sweet foods, as might have been expected, but between foods that are very pleasant, high-calorie and those whose taste should be learned. This difference is reflected in the brain regions involved in their liking and strongly suggests an underlying biological mechanism.”

About this genetic research news

author: press office
source: University of Edinburgh
Contact: Press Office – University of Edinburgh
picture: The image is in the public domain

original search: open access.
GWAS broadly reveals admirable genetic determinants and genetic correlates of distinct neurophysiological traits.Written by Sebastian May Wilson et al. Nature Communications


Summary

GWAS broadly reveals admirable genetic determinants and genetic correlates of distinct neurophysiological traits.

We present the results of a GWAS food likeness test conducted on 161,625 participants from UK-Biobank. Likeability was rated on over 139 foods using a 9-point scale.

Genetic correlations coupled with structural equation modeling defined a multilevel hierarchical map of food liking with three main dimensions: “highly palatable,” “earned,” and “low-calorie.”

The palatable dimension is genetically unrelated to the other two dimensions, suggesting that independent processes underlie the liking of highly rewarding foods. This is confirmed by genetic associations with brain features on MRI that show distinct associations.

Comparison with corresponding food consumption traits shows high genetic correlation, while exhibits appeal to poor heritability. GWAS 1401 analysis identified a significant association with food likes that showed significant agreement in the direction of effects with 11 independent groups.

In conclusion, we generated a comprehensive map of the genetic determinants and neurophysiological factors associated with food liking.

#Taste #Foods #Specialized #Genes #Neuroscience #News

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