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Genes dictate our diet choices

23rd October 2007

A research team from Kings College London think that genes may determine how people develop likings for particular tastes in the food they choose to eat.


The team examined the diets of more than 3,000 female twins aged between 18 and 79. They classified dietary tastes into five different groups. For example, those subjects who ate a high amount of fruit and vegetables were placed in one group, while those who ate plenty of meat products were placed in another group.

The team looked at the diet of the twins and found that identical twins tended to share the same likes and dislikes regarding food. The results, as shown in the journal Twin Research and Human Genetics, suggested that tastes for particular food could be inherited.

As identical twins share the same genetic make-up, scientists can compare them to non-identical twins and identify which characteristics could be determined by genetics or upbringing.

Professor Tim Spector, who led the research, said: "For so long we have assumed that our upbringing and social environment determine what we like to eat.

"This has blown that theory out of the water - more often than not, our genetic make-up influences our dietary patterns."

The study showed that between 41-48% of an individual's preference for a particular food group was influenced by genetics.

The strongest connection between genetics and taste was shown for garlic and coffee.


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Article Information

Title: Genes dictate our diet choices
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 4515
Date Added: 23rd Oct 2007


BBC News

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