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Scientists May Have Just Figured Out Why You Prefer Certain Foods

Your preferences stem from more than just your background and taste buds.

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According to research, our taste preferences may be inherited.

Researchers identified 401 genetic variants associated with dietary preferences and dislikes and categorized them into three groups: liking of high-calorie foods, liking of strongly-flavored foods, and liking of fruits and vegetables.

The researchers did point out that there might be more brain-related variables at play in people who are predisposed to like high-calorie foods.

We all have different tastes, whether you’re someone who adds hot sauce to everything you eat or someone who prefers mild sauce on the side. New research may help to explain our taste preferences, even though it might be annoying to have to tone down a dish for a dinner guest or ask for a less-spicy alternative when ordering at a restaurant. Science asserts that our genetics are what causes us to prefer some foods over others, rather than our culture, taste receptors, or early dietary experiences.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, found hundreds of genetic polymorphisms that are connected to particular meals, including those that can influence your preference for or aversion to foods like fatty fish, avocados, chilies, and more.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh examined responses from more than 160,000 participants in the UK Biobank regarding their preferences for and against 139 different foods and beverages using a nine-point scale in the big genetic study of food preferences. Researchers examined genetic data and questionnaire responses from participants to see whether particular genetic features had an impact on certain food groups or flavors.

Researchers discovered 401 genetic variants, many of which affected multiple dietary preferences or dislikes. The researchers developed a “food map” based on the findings, which identified three groupings of food related to genetics: highly appealing, low calorie, and acquired foods.

These include inherited tendencies toward high-calorie (and very appetizing) meals like meat, dairy, and sweets. People who enjoyed strong-tasting items (acquired), such as alcohol and pungent vegetables, had another genetic component associated with them. Those who enjoy eating fruits and vegetables are part of the third group of genetics (low caloric).

Researchers discovered that people who shared DNA for particular health features also shared genotypes that tied them to one type of diet. For instance, individuals who frequently indulged in very appetizing foods also possessed gene variations linked to a higher risk of obesity and a lower level of activity. Contrarily, those who preferred foods with a strong flavor were more likely to be genetically predisposed to lower cholesterol levels and higher levels of physical activity, but also more likely to smoke or drink excessively. Additionally, those who favored fruits and vegetables had a natural tendency to engage in more physical exercise.

According to the research, not all veggies were enjoyed by people who were genetically predisposed to liking them. The association between eating salad vegetables, cooked vegetables, and some vegetables with stronger flavors, such as spinach and asparagus, was found to be weaker. Researchers also suggested that those who were inclined to choose higher-calorie, more pleasant foods may be affected by factors more than merely heredity. According to the news release, they speculate that this may be more likely connected to the area of the brain responsible for processing pleasure as a result of MRI scans.

The conclusion

Sometimes we have no control over the foods we like. This research is a wonderful justification to use when your taste preferences get in the way. In the future, it might assist researchers figure out how to help people adjust their diets to reach specific health goals. After all, your genes dictate that you must top your scrambled eggs with sriracha.

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