Craving Fatty Foods Has Genetic Link

Individuals with certain forms of the CD36 gene are more likely to prefer high-fat foods, say researchers. The new obesity data could help those who consistently struggle with weight gain.

What's the New Development?


There is a genetic link to the preference some individuals express for foods high in fat, say researchers at Penn State. In a recent study, people with a certain form of a gene known as CD36 also preferred salad dressings rich in fat and oil, even describing them differently than individuals with another form of gene CD36. "People with certain forms of the CD36 gene may find fat creamier and more enjoyable than others," said Kathleen Keller, a Penn State nutritional scientist. "This may increase their risk for obesity and other health problems." 

What's the Big Idea?

Future experiments will examine children's attraction to fatty foods, taking advantage of novel fMRI machines to give a more complete understanding of the biology behind high-fat cravings. Scientists already know that, for evolutionary reasons, the brain's pleasure centers fire when fat is ingested. By further imaging the brain under the influence of unhealthy food, scientists may one day develop low-fat, healthy foods which give the brain the same sense of satisfaction as when high-fat food in consumed.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

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