Healthy Eating

Do Genes Make Unhealthy Food Taste Better?

03C75880Obesity has long been considered the product of three major pillars of the human experience: environment conditions, emotional stress, and genetics.

Research from the MAVAN (Maternal Adversity Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment) project shed some light on some more of the genetic factors that can create obesity.

Research has suggested that a particular gene in the brain’s reward system contributes to overeating and obesity in adults. This same variant has now been linked to childhood obesity and tasty food choices, particularly for girls

In this study, they tested 150 children by administering a snack test which lead to some pretty interesting results:

“We found that a variation in a gene that regulates the activity of dopamine, a major neurotransmitter that regulates the individual’s response to tasty food, predicted the amount of ‘comfort’ foods — highly palatable foods such as ice cream, candy or calorie-laden snacks — selected and eaten by the children”, said Dr. Silveira.

Genes don’t just control how our body processes fat or our bone structure. It can change how our brain responds to junk food.

The MAVAN project hopes this research could be a critical step towards prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.



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